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Int J Med Sci 2009; 6(4):218-223. doi:10.7150/ijms.6.218

Research Paper

Effect of corticosteroids on phlebitis induced by intravenous infusion of antineoplastic agents in rabbits

Emiko Kohno1 ✉, Saori Murase2, Kenji Matsuyama3, Noboru Okamura2

1. Department of Hospital Pharmacy, Kansai Medical University Takii Hospital, 10-15 Fumizono-cho, Moriguchi, Osaka 570-8507, Japan
2. Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Mukogawa Women's University, 11-68 Koshien-Kyuban-cho, Nishinomiya, Hyogo 663-8179, Japan
3. Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Kinki University, 3-4-10 Kowakae, Higashiosaka, Osaka 577-8502, Japan


Purpose: Phlebitis caused by intravenous infusion of antineoplastic agents is one of the critical problems when anticancer therapy is prolonged. We have already reported that both rapid infusion and dilution of the injection solution were effective methods for reducing phlebitis caused by vinorelbine (VNR) in rabbits. The aim of this study was to explore other practical methods for preventing phlebitis caused by VNR and doxorubicin (DXR) in a rabbit model. VNR is often used with cisplatin, and dexamethasone (DEX) has been co-administered for prevention of cisplatin-induced nausea. DXR is used with prednisolone (PSL) in the CHOP regimen for the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Therefore, the present study investigated the prevention of phlebitis due to VNR with DEX and that due to DXR with PSL.

Methods: VNR and DXR were diluted with normal saline to prepare test solutions at concentrations of 0.6 mg/mL and 1.4 mg/mL, respectively. Each test solution was infused into the auricular veins of rabbits. Two days after VNR infusion and three days after DXR infusion, the veins were evaluated histopathologically. The effect of DEX on VNR-induced phlebitis was evaluated by infusion of DEX before or after VNR. The effect of PSL on DXR-induced phlebitis was similarly evaluated by co-infusion of PSL.

Results: The histopathological features of phlebitis caused by the antineoplastic agents differed between VNR and DXR: VNR did not cause the loss of venous endothelial cells, but caused inflammatory cell infiltration, edema, and epidermal degeneration. In contrast, DXR caused the loss of venous endothelial cells and chrondrocyte necrosis. Pre-treatment and post-treatment with DEX significantly decreased VNR-induced phlebitis compared with the control group and pre-treatment was particularly effective. Co-infusion of PSL also significantly decreased phlebitis caused by DXR, but its effect was less marked.

Conclusion: The present findings suggested that pre-treatment with DEX may be a useful method for preventing phlebitis due to VNR, and that co-infusion of PSL has the potential to prevent phlebitis caused by DXR.

Keywords: antineoplastic agents, phlebitis, vinca alkaloids, anthracyclines, corticosteroid, rabbit ear vein, vinorelbine, doxorubicin

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How to cite this article:
Kohno E, Murase S, Matsuyama K, Okamura N. Effect of corticosteroids on phlebitis induced by intravenous infusion of antineoplastic agents in rabbits. Int J Med Sci 2009; 6(4):218-223. doi:10.7150/ijms.6.218. Available from