State of the art: the role of citrulline as biomarker in patients with chemotherapy- or graft-versus-host-disease-induced mucositis

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Serum or plasma citrulline levels are used as biomarker for a broad spectrum of intestinal functions. During high-dose chemotherapy, citrulline levels are decreased due to mucositis, a common side effect of chemotherapy. This may decrease intestinal function and result in diarrhea. In this review, most recent studies investigating citrulline as biomarker for intestinal function are discussed, with focus on patients with oncological diseases, specifically hematological malignancies with chemotherapy- or Graft-versus-Host-disease (GVHD)-induced mucositis. RECENT FINDINGS: Citrulline has recently been widely studied in relation to intestinal function and various clinical conditions. It seems therefore a promising noninvasive biomarker in clinical practice for more than intestinal function alone. The association between citrulline levels and intestinal function in patients with hematological malignancies, with or without mucositis remains unclear, as no other parameters of intestinal function for this purpose were assessed. SUMMARY: In conclusion, citrulline seems to be a promising noninvasive biomarker for various intestinal conditions in general, and potentially for intestinal function in patients with chemotherapy- or GVHD-induced mucositis. It is unclear from recent literature whether high fecal volume or diarrhea as side effect, results in impaired intestinal function and severe malabsorption and if citrulline biomarkers can be useful to detect this.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-427
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021

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