Background: Forty-seven cases (38 men and 9 women) of pulmonary toxicity caused by
oxaliplatin have previously been published, but the issue has not been investigated in a prospective
setting. Our purpose was to assess how oxaliplatin affects the pulmonary function in colorectal cancer
patients during adjuvant treatment.
Material and Methods: Forty patients (median age 57.5 years, range 33-74) radically resected for colorectal
cancer, underwent three pulmonary function tests during post-surgery adjuvant treatment with
Results: Mean±sd haemoglobin corrected diffusion capacity (DLCOc) in the entire patient cohort were 7.65±2.24 at baseline,
7.11±2.11 during and 7.12±1.99 three months after oxaliplatin treatment (p=0.0002). The decrease was similar in
men (n=22, p=0.02) and women (n=18, p=0.01), but most prominent in smokers (n=23, p=0.0005) and in patients exposed
to occupational dust (n=21, p=0.0009). Besides a small decrease in the FEV1/FVC ratio (p=0.03), all other pulmonary parameters
remained constant and no clinical signs of pulmonary failure were observed during the study period.
Conclusion: A decline in DLCOc was detected in a majority of the examined patients, but none reported any clinical
symptoms of pulmonary distress. The subtle decrease in DLCOc does not appear to be an isolated predictor of PT. Our
data suggest that smoking and dust exposure might aggravate the effect of oxaliplatin on DLCOc.
Routine pulmonary function test in patients treated with oxaliplatin is not recommended, but it is important to be aware of
the early signs of pulmonary toxicity.