Wen, H. S., Li, X., Cao, Y. Z., Zhang, C. C., Yang, F., Shi, Y. M., & Peng, L. M. (2012). Clinical studies on the treatment of cancer cachexia with megestrol acetate plus thalidomide. Chemotherapy, 58, 461–467.doi: 10.1159/000346446
To confirm the effectiveness of the combination of megestrol acetate (MA) and thalidomide for the treatment of cancer cachexia.
Patients were randomly assigned to receive either 160 mg of MA and 50 mg of thalidomide daily or MA alone for eight weeks. Study measures were obtained at baseline and eight weeks.
The study has clinical applicability for late effects, survivorship, and palliative care.
This was a randomized, parallel, two-group trial.
The combination of MA and thalidomide was associated with improvement in fatigue compared to those receiving only MA. The drug combination was not more effective in treating anorexia and did not show more improvement in body weight.
MA has been shown to have an effect in improving appetite in patients with cancer cachexia, but, as shown, also can have clinically significant side effects. Findings from this study did not show better results for appetite with the addition of thalidomide. This combination appeared to have a positive impact on fatigue. Nurses should be aware that patients taking MA can have side effects, such as thromboembolism, so patients receiving this treatment need to be educated and monitored for adverse events.