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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Acute and long-term gastrointestinal consequences of chemotherapy


Basically, early toxicities induce damage on tissues with a high proliferating index such as the haematopoietic system, the gastrointestinal mucosa and the skin. Acute chemotherapy-induced toxicities commonly affect the gastrointestinal tract. The most common symptoms of acute gastrointestinal toxicity are anorexia, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.

In contrast, late toxicities affect mainly tissues with a low proliferating index and are characterized by fibrosis, atrophy, vascular and neural damage. These late effects represent a major health problem for the long-term cancer survivors who are now estimated with a 5-year survival rate of approximately 60% for adults newly diagnosed with cancer [1]. Little is known about the long-term adverse effects of anti-cancer treatment. Most authors highlight that toxicity reporting methods are not yet sufficient to screen all potential late adverse effects of both chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment [1]. Until now, long-term effects are categorized into three groups according to their consequences: (i) long-term adverse effects with organ damage, (ii) long-term adverse effects with functional disabilities that result from the disease or the treatment or both, and (iii) long-term adverse effects leading to secondary malignancies.

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