ISSN 1849-9031 (Online)

ISSN 1849-8922    (Print)

Abnormalities of magnesium homeostasis in patients with chemotherapy-induced alimentary tract mucositis.
Neven Baršić, Filip Grubišić-Čabo, Marko Nikolić, Neven Ljubičić.


Purpose: Hypomagnesemia contributes to morbidity in a significant proportion of hospitalized and severely ill patients, but it could also have beneficial anticancer effects. Alimentary tract mucositis is a frequent complication of cytotoxic chemotherapy. The aim of this study was to determine frequency and severity of hypomagnesemia in patients with different grades of chemotherapy-induced alimentary tract mucositis and to assess its clinical manifestations.

Methods: Multicentric observational study included 226 adult patients with alimentary mucositis treated at 3 different institutions. Patients were evaluated for severity of mucositis and the presence of hypomagnesemia, symptoms associated with hypomagnesemia, hypocalcemia, ECG changes and granulocytopenia. Subgroup analysis related to mucositis severity and presence of hypomagnesemia was performed.

Results: Patients with grade 3 or 4 alimentary mucositis expectedly had more frequent and more severe granulocytopenia than patients with milder mucositis (49.6% vs. 35.4%, P = 0.043), but there were no differences in rate of hypomagnesemia (24.8% vs. 26.5%). When compared to patients with normal magnesium levels, patients with hypomagnesemia had higher rates of hypocalcemia (50.0% vs. 32.7%, P = 0.026), QTc prolongation (15.5% vs. 3.0%, P = 0.002) and granulocytopenia (77.6% vs. 39.9%, P < 0.001), while there was no difference in symptoms or other ECG features among these subgroups.

Conclusions: Hypomagnesaemia is not associated with the severity of chemotherapy-induced mucositis. However, hypomagnesaemia was associated with higher rates of granulocytopenia and hypocalcemia. Our study failed to identify the link between hypomagnesaemia and chemotherapy-induced mucositis.