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Support Care Cancer. 2018 Oct;26(10):3553-3561. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4200-7. Epub 2018 Apr 27.

Chemosensory changes and quality of life in patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

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University of Washington School of Dentistry, 1959 NE Pacific Street, Box 356365, Seattle, WA, 98195-6365, USA.
University of Washington School of Dentistry, 1959 NE Pacific Street, Box 356365, Seattle, WA, 98195-6365, USA.
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, 825 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA, 98109, USA.



To assess magnitude and characteristics of changes in chemosensory function and quality of life (QOL) for patients receiving hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).


Patients (aged 18 years and above) scheduled to undergo HSCT at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance were tested for chemosensory function at three time points: pre-transplant (baseline), 30 ± 5 days (day 30), and 80 ± 5 days (day 80) post-HSCT. Gustatory function was assessed following procedures developed at the Monell-Jefferson Taste and Smell Clinic. Olfactory testing was conducted using the National Institute of Health Toolbox Odor Identification test. QOL was also assessed.


Twenty-nine patients were enrolled in the study between August 2014 and March 2015. Twenty-three patients were included in the analysis, with 16 tested at all three time points (baseline, day 30, and day 80). The primary finding is decreased taste sensitivity for 0.32 M NaCl, 0.0056 M citric acid, and 0.018 M citric acid on day 30 following HSCT. Increased taste sensitivity for 0.32 M sucrose at day 30 was also observed. Taste sensitivity largely recovered by day 80. Olfactory identification scores were unchanged from baseline to day 30. QOL was reduced at day 30 but was restored to an acceptable level of functioning and symptoms by day 80. However, some areas remain impaired.


Alterations in taste perception were confirmed in the early post-transplant period. This was largely resolved within 2.5 months. No obvious impairments were observed in olfactory function. QOL improved by day 80, though some oral symptoms lingered.


General Labeled Magnitude Scale; Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; Olfaction; Quality of life; Taste perception

[Available on 2019-10-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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