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Original Article


A New Rapid Desensitization Protocol for Chemotherapy Agents


G Gastaminza,1 JM de la Borbolla,1 MJ Goikoetxea,1 R Escudero,1 J Antón,1 J Espinós,2 C Lacasa,3 M Fernández-Benítez,1 ML Sanz,1 M Ferrer1

1Department of Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
2Department of Oncology, Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain
3Department of Pharmacy, Clínica Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain

J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 2011; Vol. 21(2): 108-112



Background: Desensitization has been used for some decades to treat patients with the allergenic drug when an alternative drug with similar efficacy and safety is not available. We present the results from a series of oncology patients desensitized at our hospital during the last 2 years.

Objective: To assess the efficacy of a new desensitization protocol in patients allergic to chemotherapy drugs.

Methods: We performed an observational retrospective study of 11 women (6 breast cancer and 5 ovarian cancer) who underwent our desensitization protocol. Four patients had immediate reactions to carboplatin, 3 to docetaxel, 3 to paclitaxel, and 1 to both docetaxel and paclitaxel. Premedication was administered in all cases. A 5-step protocol based on 5 different dilutions of the drugs was used.

Results: We performed 39 desensitization procedures: 14 to carboplatin, 3 to oxaliplatin, 16 to docetaxel, and 6 to paclitaxel. Eight patients tolerated the full dose in 36 procedures. One patient suffered an anaphylactic reaction to carboplatin that reverted with treatment. One patient had dyspnea after a paclitaxel cycle. One patient experienced dyspnea due to chronic pulmonary thromboembolism related to her disease.

Conclusion: Desensitization is a useful procedure in patients who are allergic to their chemotherapy agents.

Key words: Carboplatin. Chemotherapy agents. Desensitization. Hypersensitivity reactions. Paclitaxel.