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Metallic taste in cancer patients treated with chemotherapy

  • Author Footnotes
    1 Postal address: Top Institute Food and Nutrition, PO Box 557, 6700 AN Wageningen, The Netherlands.
    ,
    Author Footnotes
    2 Postal address: Neuroimaging Center Groningen, PO Box 196, 9700 AD Groningen, The Netherlands.
    ,
    Author Footnotes
    3 Postal address: Department of Medical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen, DA 11, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands.
    I. IJpma
    Footnotes
    1 Postal address: Top Institute Food and Nutrition, PO Box 557, 6700 AN Wageningen, The Netherlands.
    2 Postal address: Neuroimaging Center Groningen, PO Box 196, 9700 AD Groningen, The Netherlands.
    3 Postal address: Department of Medical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen, DA 11, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands.
    Affiliations
    Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen, The Netherlands

    Neuroimaging Center Groningen, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

    Department of Medical Oncology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    1 Postal address: Top Institute Food and Nutrition, PO Box 557, 6700 AN Wageningen, The Netherlands.
    ,
    Author Footnotes
    2 Postal address: Neuroimaging Center Groningen, PO Box 196, 9700 AD Groningen, The Netherlands.
    R.J. Renken
    Footnotes
    1 Postal address: Top Institute Food and Nutrition, PO Box 557, 6700 AN Wageningen, The Netherlands.
    2 Postal address: Neuroimaging Center Groningen, PO Box 196, 9700 AD Groningen, The Netherlands.
    Affiliations
    Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen, The Netherlands

    Neuroimaging Center Groningen, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    1 Postal address: Top Institute Food and Nutrition, PO Box 557, 6700 AN Wageningen, The Netherlands.
    ,
    Author Footnotes
    2 Postal address: Neuroimaging Center Groningen, PO Box 196, 9700 AD Groningen, The Netherlands.
    G.J. ter Horst
    Footnotes
    1 Postal address: Top Institute Food and Nutrition, PO Box 557, 6700 AN Wageningen, The Netherlands.
    2 Postal address: Neuroimaging Center Groningen, PO Box 196, 9700 AD Groningen, The Netherlands.
    Affiliations
    Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen, The Netherlands

    Neuroimaging Center Groningen, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    1 Postal address: Top Institute Food and Nutrition, PO Box 557, 6700 AN Wageningen, The Netherlands.
    A.K.L. Reyners
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: Department of Medical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen, DA 11, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands. Tel.: +31 50 3612821; fax: +31 50 3614862.
    Footnotes
    1 Postal address: Top Institute Food and Nutrition, PO Box 557, 6700 AN Wageningen, The Netherlands.
    Affiliations
    Top Institute Food and Nutrition, Wageningen, The Netherlands

    Department of Medical Oncology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    1 Postal address: Top Institute Food and Nutrition, PO Box 557, 6700 AN Wageningen, The Netherlands.
    2 Postal address: Neuroimaging Center Groningen, PO Box 196, 9700 AD Groningen, The Netherlands.
    3 Postal address: Department of Medical Oncology, University Medical Center Groningen, DA 11, PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands.
Published:December 05, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctrv.2014.11.006

      Highlights

      • Metallic taste is reported by 9.7% to 78% of chemotherapy treated cancer patients.
      • Research regarding metallic taste is limited.
      • Consequences of metallic taste regarding food intake, body weight, and quality of life are unknown.
      • Several management strategies can be recommended to support cancer patients.

      Abstract

      Background

      Metallic taste is a taste alteration frequently reported by cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. Attention to this side effect of chemotherapy is limited. This review addresses the definition, assessment methods, prevalence, duration, etiology, and management strategies of metallic taste in chemotherapy treated cancer patients.

      Methods

      Literature search for metallic taste and chemotherapy was performed in PubMed up to September 2014, resulting in 184 articles of which 13 articles fulfilled the inclusion criteria: English publications addressing metallic taste in cancer patients treated with FDA-approved chemotherapy. An additional search in Google Scholar, in related articles of both search engines, and subsequent in the reference lists, resulted in 13 additional articles included in this review. Cancer patient forums were visited to explore management strategies.

      Findings

      Prevalence of metallic taste ranged from 9.7% to 78% among patients with various cancers, chemotherapy treatments, and treatment phases. No studies have been performed to investigate the influence of metallic taste on dietary intake, body weight, and quality of life. Several management strategies can be recommended for cancer patients: using plastic utensils, eating cold or frozen foods, adding strong herbs, spices, sweetener or acid to foods, eating sweet and sour foods, using ‘miracle fruit’ supplements, and rinsing with chelating agents.

      Interpretation

      Although metallic taste is a frequent side effect of chemotherapy and a much discussed topic on cancer patient forums, literature regarding metallic taste among chemotherapy treated cancer patients is scarce. More awareness for this side effect can improve the support for these patients.

      Keywords

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