Olanzapine for Nausea/Vomiting Prophylaxis in Recipients of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplants

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    UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Updated on 28 November 2021


The purpose of this research study is to see if olanzapine helps to prevent nausea and/or vomiting (throwing up) when it is added to other medicines in subjects having stem cell transplants. Subjects will either be given olanzapine or an inactive pill (called a placebo) before getting any chemotherapy that is known to cause nausea and vomiting. During the study, the study coordinators will ask the subjects to complete surveys to understand if the patient is having nausea and vomiting, and if so, how bad it is making the patient feel.

This trial will split subjects into two groups: one group will be given an inactive pill (placebo), and the other group will be given the active pill (olanzapine). Study coordinators will collect surveys every morning before chemotherapy and 5 days after the last dose of chemotherapy. These surveys may be given by members of the study team or possibly on a mobile device.

Subjects may benefit from being in this research study because olanzapine may reduce the frequency or severity of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). The most common risks of using olanzapine include possibly becoming more tired, mild dizziness, mild low blood pressure, and mild muscle "quivering." Other possible adverse effects include low blood pressure, muscle weakness, increased appetite, weight gain, constipation, and liver function test changes however these risks are less common in subjects with cancer. In addition, there may be a change detected in heart rhythm however subjects will be screened for this ahead of time.


Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) occurs in up to 80% of patients on active therapy and remains a significant barrier to quality of life. CINV can alter electrolytes and enteral nutrition which can have a detrimental effect on patient adherence and health outcomes. HCT patients are at increased risk for CINV because many of the conditioning regimens require multiple days of high-dose chemotherapy that are, in many cases, associated with highly-emetogenic potential.

Thus, most conditioning regimens require a 3-drug regimen for optimal CINV prophylaxis.

Current Standard of Care Current guidelines support the use of olanzapine in addition to a 3 drug CINV regimen for highly emetogenic chemotherapy, however some controversy remains as to olanzapine's place in therapy with moderately emetogenic chemotherapy. In HCT, current practice at UNC utilizes an neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist (NK1 RA), serotonin receptor antagonists (5-HT3 RA) and corticosteroid for CINV prophylaxis in conditioning regimens including moderate and highly emetogenic chemotherapy in accordance with ASCO and NCCN recommendations.

Olanzapine, an atypical antipsychotic, antagonizes dopamine, serotonin, catecholamines, acetylcholine, and histamine receptors which helps prevent acute, breakthrough and delayed nausea. Olanzapine has shown benefit when used as prophylaxis in solid tumor patients receiving single-day highly emetogenic chemotherapy. The addition of olanzapine to 5HT-3 antagonist, NK-1 antagonist, and dexamethasone resulted in significantly more complete responses (CR) and more patients without CINV when compared to placebo in the acute, delayed and overall time periods. Data with olanzapine as CINV prophylaxis is not clear in HCT patients, but one retrospective study by Trifilio et. al. illustrates possible benefit in HCT. They compared an aprepitant-based regimen (aprepitant, ondansetron, and steroid) to an olanzapine-based regimen (olanzapine, ondansetron, and steroid) and found that patients in the olanzapine group had significantly less acute and delayed nausea. In addition, the olanzapine-based regimen required significantly less PRN rescue medication compared to the aprepitant based regimen. These results ultimately provided the foundation for the FOND-O study, a prospective trial that added olanzapine as part of CINV prophylaxis in both hematologic malignancies and HCT patients. The FOND-O study compared fosaprepitant, ondansetron, and dexamethasone (FOND) to fosaprepitant, ondansetron, dexamethasone and olanzapine (FOND-O). The inclusion of olanzapine resulted in significantly less delayed and overall nausea but did not affect the acute phase. While the FOND-O study was the first to look at utilizing olanzapine as part of 4 drug CINV prophylaxis in HCT, there were only 68 HCT patients included in the study. Only 24 allogeneic transplants and 44 autologous transplants were enrolled, and only 34 of these patients actually received olanzapine.

In addition, the FOND-O study utilized an olanzapine dose of 10 mg on each day of chemotherapy continued through chemotherapy day 3. Rationale for Clinical Study The purpose of our proposed study is to build upon the FOND-O results by doing a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled study, focused entirely on HCT recipients, and powered to detect olanzapine's potential role in CINV prophylaxis in recipients of HCT. Based upon the available literature in both solid and hematologic malignancies the benefit outweighs the risk of adding olanzapine to standard CINV prophylaxis. The primary endpoint is complete response- defined as no emesis and no more than minimal nausea starting with the first dose of highly or moderately emetogenic conditioning chemotherapy and continuing 5 days beyond the last dose of highly or moderately emetogenic conditioning chemotherapy. Secondary endpoints are defined explicitly

Condition Chemotherapy-induced Nausea and Vomiting
Treatment Placebo, Olanzapine 5 MG
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04535141
SponsorUNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Last Modified on28 November 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Written informed consent obtained to participate in the study and HIPAA authorization for the release of personal health information
Recipients receiving autologous or allogeneic HCT for any disease
Any conditioning chemotherapy regimen considered a standard BMT conditioning regimen
ECOG Performance Status of 0-2
The subject is willing and able to comply with study procedures based on the judgement of the investigator or protocol designee

Exclusion Criteria

1\. Patients must not have started conditioning chemotherapy prior to consent. Note: test dose Busulfan is not part of conditioning chemotherapy
Known allergy to olanzapine
Baseline QTc >500 msec as calculated by Fridericia formula
Patients receiving post-transplant cyclophosphamide as planned GVHD prophylaxis
Pregnant or breastfeeding (NOTE: patients pregnant or breast-feeding are not eligible to proceed to transplant)
Has a known additional malignancy that is active and/or progressive requiring treatment; exceptions include basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer, in situ cervical or bladder cancer, or other cancer for which the subject has been disease-free for at least five years
Treatment with any investigational drug within 7 days prior to registration
Subject is receiving prohibited medications (ciprofloxacin or fluvoxamine) that cannot be discontinued/replaced by an alternative therapy
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