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Radiother Oncol. 1997 Apr;43(1):75-9.

Effect of megestrol acetate and prepulsid on nutritional improvement in patients with head and neck cancers undergoing radiotherapy.

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1
Department of Radiation Oncology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, ROC.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Anorexia is a common problem in cancer patients who receive radiotherapy. In this current study, we attempt to determine the effect of megestrol acetate and prepulsid on appetite and nutritional improvement in patients with head and neck cancers undergoing radiotherapy.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

One hundred twenty-nine consecutive patients with head and neck cancers treated between July 1993 and June 1994 were prospectively randomized to receive either megestrol acetate, 40 mg qid (megace group), prepulsid, 5 mg tid (cisapride group), or a placebo treatment (control group) during radiotherapy. Before radiotherapy, body weight (kg), appetite score, performance status, biochemical parameters and hematological parameters were evaluated, and the above-noted clinical and biochemical parameters were assessed and recorded every other week. All patients received 6- 10 MV X-rays or Co-60 gamma-ray to head and neck region for a full course of radiotherapy, 61.2-75.6 Gy/7-9 weeks.

RESULTS:

Forty-eight patients were enrolled in the megace group, 41 patients in the cisapride group, and 40 patients in the control group. At the 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th week, as the radiation dose escalated, the megace group had significantly less body weight loss than did the cisapride and control groups (P = 0.045, 0.024, 0.006, 0.003, respectively). The appetite scores of the megace group were significantly higher than those of the cisapride and control groups (P = 0.0001). However, there were no statistically significant differences in the change of albumin level among these three groups at the 2nd, 4th, 6th and 8th week (P > 0.05, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS:

Megestrol acetate can significantly decrease the degree of body weight loss, and can prevent the deterioration of appetite in patients with head and neck cancers receiving radiotherapy. However, prepulsid lacks the above-mentioned clinical benefits.

PMID:
9165140
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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