Kleckner, A. S., J.E. Reschke, I.R. Kleckner, A. Magnuson, A.M. Amitrano, E. Culakova, M. Shayne, C.S. Netherby-Winslow, S. Czap, M.C. Janelsins, K.M. Mustian, L.J. Peppone, 2022. The effects of a Mediterranean diet intervention on cancer-related fatigue for patients undergoing chemotherapy: a pilot randomized controlled trial. Cancers. 14(17):4202. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14174202
Cancer-related fatigue is a common, burdensome symptom of cancer and a side-effect of chemotherapy. While a Mediterranean Diet (MedDiet) promotes energy metabolism and overall health, its effects on cancer-related fatigue remain unknown. In a randomized controlled trial, we evaluated a rigorous MedDiet intervention for feasibility and safety as well as preliminary effects on cancer-related fatigue and metabolism compared to usual care. Participants had stage I–III cancer and at least six weeks of chemotherapy scheduled. After baseline assessments, randomization occurred 2:1, MedDiet:usual care. Measures were collected at baseline, week 4, and week 8 including MedDiet adherence (score 0–14), dietary intake, and blood-based metabolic measures. Mitochondrial respiration from freshly isolated T cells was measured at baseline and four weeks. Participants (n = 33) were 51.0 ± 14.6 years old, 94% were female, and 91% were being treated for breast cancer. The study was feasible, with 100% completing the study and >70% increasing their MedDiet adherence at four and eight weeks compared to baseline. Overall, the MedDiet intervention vs. usual care had a small-moderate effect on change in fatigue at weeks 4 and 8 (ES = 0.31, 0.25, respectively). For those with a baseline MedDiet score <5 (n = 21), the MedDiet intervention had a moderate-large effect of 0.67 and 0.48 at weeks 4 and 8, respectively. The MedDiet did not affect blood-based lipids, though it had a beneficial effect on fructosamine (ES = −0.55). Fatigue was associated with mitochondrial dysfunction including lower basal respiration, maximal respiration, and spare capacity (p < 0.05 for FACIT-F fatigue subscale and BFI, usual fatigue). In conclusion, the MedDiet was feasible and attenuated cancer-related fatigue among patients undergoing chemotherapy, especially those with lower MedDiet scores at baseline.
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