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J Clin Oncol. 1996 Apr;14(4):1077-84.

Effects of medroxyprogesterone acetate on appetite, weight, and quality of life in advanced-stage non-hormone-sensitive cancer: a placebo-controlled multicenter study.

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Department of Pulmonology, University Hospital, Maastricht, the Netherlands.



To investigate the effects of medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) on appetite, weight, and quality of life (QL) in patients with advanced-stage, incurable, non-hormone-sensitive cancer.


Two hundred six eligible patients were randomized between double-blind MPA 500 mg twice daily or placebo. Appetite (0 to 10 numerical rating scale), weight, and QL (European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire [EORTC-QLQ-C30]) were assessed before the start of treatment (t = 0), and 6 weeks (t = 6) and 12 weeks (t = 12) thereafter.


One hundred thirty-four patients (68 MPA and 66 placebo) were assessable at t = 6 and 99 patients (53 MPA and 46 placebo) at t = 12. A beneficial effect of MPA on appetite was observed after both 6 weeks (P = .008) and 12 weeks (P = .01) of treatment. After 12 weeks, a mean weight gain of 0.6 +/- 4.4 kg was seen in the MPA, versus an ongoing mean weight loss of 1.4 +/- 4.6 kg in the placebo group. This difference of 2.0 kg was statistically significant (P = .04). During the study, several areas of QL deteriorated in the total group of patients. With the exception of an improvement in appetite and possible also a reduction in nausea and vomiting, no measurable beneficial effects of MPA on QL could be demonstrated. The side effects profile of MPA was favorable: only a trend toward an increase in (usually mild) peripheral edema was observed.


In weight-losing, advanced-stage non-hormone-sensitive cancer patients, MPA exhibits a mild side effects profile, has a beneficial effect on appetite, and may prevent further weight loss. However, general QL in the present study was not measurably influenced by MPA treatment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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