Management of cancer treatment-related diarrhea: Issues and therapeutic strategies

Steven Kornblau*, Al B. Benson, Robert Catalano, Richard E. Champlin, Constance Engelking, Michael Field, Cindy Ippoliti, Hillard M. Lazarus, Edith Mitchell, Joseph Rubin, Patrick J. Stiff, Everett Vokes, Scott Wadler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


The cancer treatment-related diarrhea caused by acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and chemotherapeutic agents, particularly fluoropyrimidines and irinotecan, significantly affects patient morbidity and mortality. The mechanisms causing cancer treatment-related diarrhea are not fully understood, but histopathologic evidence points to a multifactorial process that causes an absorptive and secretory imbalance in the small bowel. Cancer treatment-related diarrhea could be life-threatening, yet assessment and treatment are not currently standardized. Several clinicians participated in a closed roundtable meeting to review the mechanisms of chemotherapy-induced diarrhea (CID) and GVHD-induced diarrhea, management issues in cancer treatment-induced diarrhea, and pharmacologic approaches to treatment. The meeting produced a proposal for new treatment guidelines and an algorithm, which include the use of octreotide for the management of CID- and GVHD-induced diarrhea. The development of diarrhea assessment guidelines that expand on the current National Cancer Institute criteria and allow for better patient management was also proposed. Copyright (C) 2000 U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-129
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


  • Bone marrow transplant
  • Diarrhea
  • Fluoropyrimidines
  • Graft-versus-host disease
  • Irinotecan
  • Octreotide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • General Nursing


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