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Ann Oncol. 1997 Mar;8(3):277-83.

Improved quality of life with megestrol acetate in patients with endocrine-insensitive advanced cancer: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Australasian Megestrol Acetate Cooperative Study Group.

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  • 1NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney, Australia.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To investigate the effect of two doses of megestrol acetate (MA) compared with placebo on quality of life (QoL) and nutritional status (NS) in patients with advanced endocrine-insensitive cancer.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Two hundred forty patients were randomised to double-blind MA 480 mg/day, MA 160 mg/day, or matching placebo for 12 weeks. Nutritional status (including weight, skinfold thickness and midarm circumference) and QoL (using 6 linear analogue self-assessment (LASA) scales) were assessed at randomisation and after four, eight and 12 weeks. A QoL ranking incorporating QoL and death was also used ranging from 1 = dead to 5 = much better QoL.

RESULTS:

One hundred seventy-four patients were assessable at week four, 136 at week eight and 103 patients at week 12. Patients receiving MA reported substantially better appetite (P = 0.001), mood (P = 0.001) and overall quality of life (P < 0.001), and possibly less nausea and vomiting (P = 0.08) than patients receiving placebo, based on a test for trend. A larger benefit was seen with the higher dose which (unlike the lower dose) was significantly better in pairwise comparisons with placebo for appetite, mood and overall QoL (each P < or = 0.001). Despite some missing data on QoL scores, QoL ranking was available on 227 (95%) of patients with significantly higher QoL ranking associated with MA (P = 0.002). Improvements in QoL occurred early within four weeks and were sustained. No statistically significant differences were observed in NS measurements, including weight (P = 0.29). Side effects of therapy were minor and did not differ significantly across treatments.

CONCLUSION:

Megestrol acetate given at 480 mg/day is useful palliation in patients with endocrine-insensitive advanced cancer. It improves appetite, mood and overall quality of life in these patients, although not through a direct effect on nutritional status.

PMID:
9137798
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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