- Nausea and vomiting are among the most distressing side-effects of chemoradiotherapy. Conditioning protocols for patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation consist of highly emetogenic high-dose chemotherapy with or without total body irradiation. Marked improvement in controlling emesis and nausea was achieved by the introduction of a new class of antiemetic drugs, the 5HT3 serotonin-receptor antagonists. Tropisetron is a highly potent, selective antagonist of 5HT3 receptors. Previous studies have used a single 5-mg dose i.v. of tropisetron to control nausea and vomiting in cancer patients. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a single daily dose of tropisetron in controlling emesis in patients receiving high-dose chemotherapy (with or without total body irradiation) prior to bone marrow transplantation. The anti-emetic efficacy was investigated in a non-homogeneous cohort in a prospective and open study. Of 11 patients evaluated, 9 (81%) showed complete or major control, 1 (9%) minor control and 1 (9%) failed to respond. The most common adverse events reported during the study included diarrhea (46%) and headache (18%), no patients being withdrawn because of side-effects. Our data suggest that a single 5-mg i.v. dose of tropisetron is safe and effective in preventing chemotherapy-induced emesis in patients receiving bone marrow transplantation conditioning. A larger randomized study is warranted to confirm our preliminary results.