Levels of fatigue compared to levels of cytokines and hemoglobin during pelvic radiotherapy: a pilot study.

Karin Ahlberg, Tor Ekman, Fannie Gaston-Johansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is a prevalent and distressing symptom experienced by patients during cancer therapy. One proposed mechanism for the development of fatigue is the increased secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and/or the development of anemia. The major purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the levels of fatigue and cytokines during radiation therapy and determine whether there was a correlation between the two. A secondary purpose was to explore the relationships among hemoglobin values, cytokines, and fatigue. Participants included 15 women diagnosed with uterine cancer, who received curative external radiation therapy. Fatigue was assessed by a self-report instrument (Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory [MFI-20]) and hemoglobin and cytokines (Il-1, Il-6, and TNF-alpha) were measured before, during, and after radiotherapy. The degree of fatigue increased during radiotherapy without a significant change in IL-1, IL-6, or TNF-alpha levels. There was no significant correlation between changes in general fatigue and the changes in IL-1 and TNF-alpha. There was a significant negative correlation between the change in IL-6 and general fatigue. The hemoglobin levels did decrease significantly during radiotherapy, but there was no significant correlation between general fatigue and hemoglobin after 3 weeks of therapy or after the completion of therapy. In conclusion, pelvic radiotherapy in women with uterine cancer is associated with increased fatigue. There were no significant relationships between anemia or cytokine levels and fatigue. The pathogenesis of fatigue during radiation therapy remains to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-210
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Research For Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory


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