Bruera, E., Strasser, F., Palmer, J.L., Willey, J., Calder, K., Amyotte, G., & Baracos, V. (2003). Effect of fish oil on appetite and other symptoms in patients with advanced cancer and anorexia/cachexia: A double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 21, 129–134.doi: 10.1200/JCO.2003.01.101
To evaluate the efficacy of 1,000 mg fish oil capsules versus placebo of 1,000 mg olive oil capsules in a two-arm trial
A daily dose of 18 capsules was given over a two-week period. Dosage decreased to a minimum of six capsules daily secondary to intolerance. Mean eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) dose was 1.8 g/day. Docosahexaenoic acid dose was 1.2 g/day.
The two-site trial was conducted in the Acute Palliative Care Unit at Grey Nuns Hospital and the inpatient and outpatient areas at Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded trial design was used.
Five patients in each group left the study secondary to gastrointestinal intolerance. There was no significant difference in any of the subjective or objective parameters between the two groups. Both groups showed an equal trend toward improved appetite, –9.8 for the fish oil and –9.0 for the olive oil placebo on the VAS.