Relationship between Carnitine Pharmacokinetics and Fatigue in Patients Treated with Cisplatin-Containing Chemotherapy

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Background: Approximately 70% of the patients who receive chemotherapy suffer from fatigue, which lowers their quality of life and also has a negative influence on therapeutic efficacy. Previous studies have suggested a relationship between blood carnitine levels and fatigue. We conducted a prospective observational study to examine the relationship between carnitine pharmacokinetics and chemotherapy-induced fatigue in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy regimens that include cisplatin. Patients and Methods: 11 patients receiving chemotherapy including cisplatin (60-80 mg/m2) were included in the study. We performed 24-h urine collections and took blood samples on day 1 (before the initiation of chemotherapy) and days 2, 3, 4, and 8 in order to measure the carnitine concentrations in the serum and urine. These were compared with measures of self-reported fatigue. The primary endpoint was the change in self-reported fatigue subscales from baseline to day 8. Results: Urinary carnitine concentrations differed significantly on days 2 and 3 (p = 0.003). The Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue scale version 4A score on day 8 indicated significantly higher levels of fatigue as compared to day 1 (p = 0.013). Conclusion: This study suggests that there is an association between urinary carnitine levels and self-reported fatigue.

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