Metallic taste in cancer patients treated with chemotherapy

I. Ijpma, R. J. Renken, G. J. ter Horst, A. K. L. Reyners*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)

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. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalCANCER TREATMENT REVIEWS
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2015

Keywords

  • Metallic taste
  • Cancer patients
  • Chemotherapy
  • BREAST-CANCER
  • RECEIVING CHEMOTHERAPY
  • DIVALENT SALTS
  • FOOD HEDONICS
  • SMELL CHANGES
  • PERCEPTION
  • DISORDERS
  • FLAVOR

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