February 8, 2023

Cancer-related fatigue is often a major problem for cancer patients, beginning at diagnosis, during treatment and after completing therapy. Researchers at Mayo Clinic and the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG) recently completed a study testing methylphenidate in the treatment of cancer-related fatigue and found that, while it did not improve fatigue for a broad group of patients, the data did not rule out a benefit for those with stage III/IV cancer. Results of this NCCTG study, N05C7, will be presented on Sunday, June 6, 2010, at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.

We studied the use of a drug called methylphenidate which is a psychostimulant for its effects on cancer related fatigue fatigue is a very big problem for many cancer survivors and its present from the beginning of really at diagnosis all the way through it’s been documented through treatment out to 10 years post diagnosis and so it’s one of the main fatigue is one

Of the main reasons why sometimes patients can’t take certain drug combinations or have the most problems with their lives so we need to find some answers to taking care of fatigue in psychostimulants in general as a group of medications is one of the most popular things that people have looked at for cancer-related fatigue and what psychostimulants are drugs that

Actually kind of wake up or stimulate the central nervous system so the brain to produce some chemicals such as brain chemicals such as dopamine or norepinephrine that really cause a person to be alert and so we wanted to look at how it works in cancer related fatigue we studied methylphenidate a long-acting preparation of methylphenidate so it was given once a

Day and was and was to deliver drug throughout the day so it didn’t have kind of high concentrations in the blood and then low so peaks and valleys and we studied it in a very broad group of cancer survivor so people that had very early stage disease people who had late stage disease people who were on treatment and off of treatment and what we found in general for

That broad population was that it did not work any better than placebo to improve cancer-related fatigue however there was a slight trend for patients to say that they were more satisfied with the management of their fatigue if they were on the methylphenidate arm so we wanted to look at this further and did some subgroup analysis and found that the patients who

Were diagnosed with later stage disease stage three and four actually had quite a bit of improvement over the placebo group so while this isn’t definite information to go forward on it certainly does propose a hypothesis to test further that we can look at this in more advanced cancer perhaps more severe fatigue to see if that’s the group that it might be helpful

For we’re actually looking at writing a study in advanced cancer patients to look at how we’re not sure if we’re going to study which psychostimulant we’re going to study at this time we may study a slightly different type of drug in the same class but we are looking for to write a study in exactly that population the main takeaway i believe from our research now

There has been you kind of have to put our research in the context of other studies that have been done with this particular drug and there have now been four large studies done with this drug one being ours only one of those was really positive in a broad population and the amount of impact on fatigue overall was pretty modest so the takeaway i believe is that i

Don’t think that methylphenidate in particular is a drug that is has a broad application for cancer-related fatigue but in talking with someone’s physician it may have a role for some patients and that the benefit versus the side effects need to be discussed with the provider

Transcribed from video
Mayo Clinic Study Shows Drug May Be Effective in Treating Cancer Related Fatigue in Some Patients By Mayo Clinic