Taste changes in children with cancer and hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: Objectives were to describe bothersome self-reported changes in taste in pediatric oncology and hematopoietic stem cell (HSCT) patients and to identify patient and treatment-related factors associated with bothersome taste changes. METHODS: We prospectively enrolled children and adolescents with cancer or pediatric HSCT recipients 8-18 years of age from three groups: inpatients receiving cancer treatments; outpatients in maintenance therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL); and outpatients in survivorship. Bothersome changes in taste was self-reported using the Symptom Screening in Pediatrics Tool (SSPedi); nausea was self-reported using the Pediatric Nausea Assessment Tool (PeNAT). RESULTS: Among the 502 children included, 226 (45.0%) reported bothersome taste changes and 48 (9.6%) reported severely bothersome taste changes. In multiple regression, factors independently associated with severely bothersome taste changes were: inpatients receiving cancer treatments vs outpatients in survivorship (odds ratio (OR) 12.28, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.50-222.27), ALL in maintenance vs outpatients in survivorship (OR 7.43, 95% CI 1.06-147.77), current nausea (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.04-2.42), vomiting (OR 2.18, 95% CI 1.06-4.38), and first language not English (OR 2.09, 95% CI 0.97-4.28). CONCLUSIONS: We found that 45% of children with cancer and pediatric HSCT recipients reported bothersome changes in taste and these were severely bothersome in 9.6% of children. Inpatients receiving cancer treatment, those experiencing more nausea and vomiting and children whose first language was not English were at greater risk of severely bothersome changes in taste. Future work should evaluate systematic symptom screening in clinical practice and identify interventions focused on addressing bothersome taste changes.


  • Loves, Robyn
  • Tomlinson, Deborah
  • Baggott, Christina
  • Dix, David
  • Gibson, Paul
  • Hyslop, Shannon
  • Johnston, Donna L
  • Orsey, Andrea D
  • Portwine, Carol
  • Price, Victoria
  • Schechter, Tal
  • Vanan, Magimairajan
  • Kuczynski, Susan
  • Spiegler, Brenda
  • Tomlinson, George A
  • Dupuis, L Lee
  • Sung, Lillian

publication date

  • June 2019