A novel infusible botanically-derived drug, PG2, for cancer-related fatigue: A phase II double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study

Hong-Wen Chen, I-Hsin Lin, Yu-Jen Chen, Kao-Hwa Chang, Meng-Hao Wu, Wen-Hao Su, Gwo-Che Huang, Yuen-Liang Lai


Purpose: This study investigated the efficacy of the botanical-derived drug, PG2, a partially purified extract of Astragalus membranaceus, as a complementary and palliative medicine for managing cancer-related fatigue (CRF).

Methods: Patients with advanced cancer and moderate to severe CRF were randomized to receive either PG2 or a placebo (normal saline, NS) in the first treatment cycle (four weeks) in a double-blind manner; thereafter, on the next cycle (four weeks), all patients received open-label treatment with PG2.

Results: PG2 significantly improved CRF in the NS-primed group. In the first four week cycle, PG2 administration resulted in a greater fatigue-improvement response rate than seen with NS alone. In addition, approximately 82% of patients who reported an improvement of fatigue symptoms following the first cycle of PG2 experienced sustained benefits after administration of the second treatment cycle. Among patients treated with PG2 who did not report an improvement in symptoms throughout the first treatment cycle, approximately 71% showed significant improvement after the second treatment cycle. No major or irreversible toxicities were observed with PG2 treatment.

Conclusion: PG2 might be an effective and safe treatment for relieving CRF among advanced cancer patients.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25011/cim.v35i1.16100


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