Lymphoma Survivors Face Severe Fatigue

A study published in Cancer supports prior findings that long-term survivors of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) face severe fatigue.

The study involved two self-administered questionnaires: the 20-item Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI-20) and a Life Situation Questionnaire. In 2015, surveys were mailed to NHL survivors enrolled in 12 successive clinical studies conducted by the Lymphoma Study Association. Researchers obtained private addresses for 3,317 survivors, 1,671 (50%) of whom completed the questionnaires (906 men and 765 women). The median patient age was 64 years (range = 24-95 years).

Severe fatigue was defined as MFI-20 scores ≥60 on dimension scales scored from zero to 100. Overall, 811 survivors had received cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone (CHOP)-like chemotherapy; 518 had received high-dose CHOP; and 342 had undergone upfront autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation; 829 survivors had also received rituximab.

Two-thirds of survivors (n=1,100; 66%) reported one or more late health disorders. More than a third of patients (n=602; 37%) reported severe fatigue.

Increased fatigue levels were associated with increased age, obesity, and the presence of health disorders (P<0.001 for all). Fatigue did not appear to be associated with initial rituximab treatment, suggesting this therapy has no influence on the development of long-term fatigue, according to the researchers.