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Oncology (Williston Park). 2002 Sep;16(9 Suppl 10):117-24.

Psychological outcomes associated with anemia-related fatigue in cancer patients.

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  • 1Health Economics and Epidemiology, Amgen, Inc., Thousand Oaks, California 91320-1799, USA.


This article examines the relationships between chemotherapy-induced anemia, fatigue, and psychological distress among anemic cancer patients with solid tumors. Patients participating in two randomized clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp) completed a questionnaire at baseline, at the beginning of each chemotherapy cycle, and at the end of the 12-week treatment period. The questionnaire included four psychological distress outcomes: Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) Depression and Anxiety, Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT)-Emotional Well-Being, numeric rating scale of Overall Health, and the FACT-Fatigue subscale. Patients with a hemoglobin response of at least a 2 g/dL increase were more likely to experience meaningful improvements (at least 3 points) in FACT-Fatigue scores than nonresponders (55.0% vs 39.8%; P = .0004). Patients with meaningful improvements in FACT-Fatigue scores reported significantly greater improvements in each of the psychological outcomes relative to those without improved fatigue (P <.0001). For BSI Depression and Anxiety, the differences in mean change scores between patients with and without improved fatigue were 8.2 and 7.7, respectively. Improving the hemoglobin levels of patients undergoing chemotherapy and suffering from anemia-related fatigue has the potential to produce significant positive effects on patients' fatigue, depressive symptoms, anxiety, feelings of helplessness, and overall health.

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