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Cancer Health Center

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Nausea and Vomiting (PDQ®): Supportive care - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Acute / Delayed Nausea and Vomiting (Emesis) Etiology


In addition to emetogenic potential, the dose and schedule used are also extremely important factors. For example, a drug with a low emetogenic potential given in high doses may cause a dramatic increase in the potential to induce N&V. Standard doses of cytarabine rarely produce N&V, but these are often seen with high doses of this drug. Another factor to consider is the use of drug combinations. Because most patients receive combination chemotherapy, the emetogenic potential of all of the drugs combined and individual drug doses needs to be considered.

Delayed N&V

Delayed (or late) N&V occurs more than 24 hours after chemotherapy administration. Delayed N&V is associated with cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, and other drugs (e.g., doxorubicin and ifosfamide) given at high doses or given on 2 or more consecutive days.

  • Etiologies:
    • Patients who experience acute emesis with chemotherapy are significantly more likely to have delayed emesis.
  • Risk factors:
    • All predicative characteristics for acute emesis are considered risk factors for delayed emesis.
  • Emetic classifications:
    • Refer to the Acute Nausea and Vomiting (Emesis) (N&V) section of this summary for more information.


  1. Grunberg SM, Deuson RR, Mavros P, et al.: Incidence of chemotherapy-induced nausea and emesis after modern antiemetics. Cancer 100 (10): 2261-8, 2004.
  2. Cohen L, de Moor CA, Eisenberg P, et al.: Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: incidence and impact on patient quality of life at community oncology settings. Support Care Cancer 15 (5): 497-503, 2007.
  3. Kris MG, Hesketh PJ, Somerfield MR, et al.: American Society of Clinical Oncology guideline for antiemetics in oncology: update 2006. J Clin Oncol 24 (18): 2932-47, 2006.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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