Ginger for chemotherapy-related nausea in cancer patients: A URCC CCOP randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 644 cancer patients.

Patient and Survivor Care
Session Type and Session Title: 
Oral Abstract Session, Patient and Survivor Care
Abstract Number: 


J Clin Oncol 27:15s, 2009 (suppl; abstr 9511)
J. L. Ryan, C. Heckler, S. R. Dakhil, J. Kirshner, P. J. Flynn, J. T. Hickok, G. R. Morrow; University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY; Wichita CCOP, Witchita, KS; HOACNY CCOP, Syracuse, NY; Metro-MN CCOP, St. Louis Park, MN

Abstract Disclosures


Background: Despite the widespread use of antiemetics, post-chemotherapy nausea and vomiting continue to be reported by up to 70% of patients receiving chemotherapy. Ginger (Zingiber Officinale), an ancient spice, is used by practitioners worldwide to treat nausea and vomiting. We conducted a multi-site, phase II/III randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial to assess the efficacy of ginger for chemotherapy-related nausea in cancer patients at the University of Rochester-affiliated Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) member sites. Methods: Cancer patients who experienced nausea following any chemotherapy cycle and were scheduled to receive at least three additional cycles were eligible. Patients were randomized into four arms: 1) placebo, 2) 0.5g ginger, 3) 1.0g ginger, or 4) 1.5g ginger. All patients received 5-HT3 receptor antagonist antiemetics on Day 1 of all cycles and took three 250mg capsules of ginger or placebo twice daily for six days starting three days before the first day of the next two cycles. Patients reported the severity of nausea during the morning, afternoon, evening, and night on a 7-point semantic rating scale ('1' = 'Not at all Nauseated' and '7' = "Extremely Nauseated") for Days 1-4 of each cycle. The goal was to determine if ginger was more effective than placebo in controlling chemotherapy-related nausea in participants given a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist antiemetic. Results: A total of 644 patients were accrued (90% female, mean age = 53). Breast (66%), alimentary (6.5%), and lung (6.1%) cancers were the most common cancer types. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) examined change in nausea in the four study arms on Day 1 of cycles 2 and 3. All doses of ginger significantly reduced nausea (p=0.003). The largest reduction in nausea occurred with 0.5g and 1.0g of ginger. Also, time of day had a significant effect on nausea (p<0.001) with a linear decrease over 24 hours for patients using ginger. Conclusions: Ginger supplementation at daily dose of 0.5g-1.0g significantly aids in reduction of nausea during the first day of chemotherapy. Supported by NCI PHS grants 1R25CA10618 and U10CA37420.