Program Found to Improve Cancer-Related Insomnia
However, second study finds epoetin alfa does not improve cancer-related anemia or fatigue
THURSDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer-related insomnia can be improved by behavioral therapy but not epoetin alfa, according to two studies published online Nov. 2 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
In the first study, Ann M. Berger, Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha randomly assigned 219 breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy to a behavioral therapy sleep intervention or a healthy eating intervention. During one year, they found that global sleep quality significantly improved in the behavioral therapy group compared with the healthy eating group. Fatigue was mild at one year and lower than before chemotherapy in both groups.
In the second study, Peter J. Hoskin, M.D., from the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Northwood, U.K., and colleagues randomly assigned 301 patients with head and neck cancer and cancer treatment-related anemia and fatigue to radiotherapy plus epoetin alfa or radiotherapy alone. They found that while hemoglobin levels increased in patients receiving epoetin alfa, the drug had no effect on disease-free survival, overall survival, tumor outcomes, or cancer treatment-related anemia or fatigue.
"There are a variety of effective pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapies available for the management of cancer-related insomnia," Sonia Ancoli-Israel, Ph.D., from the University of California in San Diego writes in an accompanying editorial. "But for those therapies to work, the clinician must first identify the problem by communicating with the patient and then be willing to initiate the appropriate treatment."
The second study was supported by Johnson & Johnson, with which one author reported a financial relationship. The author of the editorial reported financial relationships with several pharmaceutical companies.