Although many cancer patients receiving palliative care experience distressing levels of fatigue, no well-designed studies have investigated contributing factors in Korean patients. We conducted a cross-sectional study using the Brief Fatigue Inventory-K (BFI-K) to measure fatigue while assessing a variety of possible correlates. Ninety patients with incurable cancer in the terminal stage (median survival: 27 days) participated in a structured interview and questionnaire related to their medical conditions and underwent blood sampling for laboratory data and cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. Body mass index, dyspnea, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status, and levels of albumin, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), total bilirubin, and C-reactive protein were significantly associated with fatigue. However, levels of the two proinflammatory cytokines, IL-6 and TNF-α, were not significantly correlated with the BFI-K score. In stepwise multiple linear regression, fatigue was related to elevated BUN (β = 0.376, p = 0.002), severe pain intensity (β = 0.349, p = 0.004), and impaired performance status (β = 0.268, p = 0.027), but not related to levels of inflammatory cytokines. In conclusion, the diagnostic work-up and therapeutic plan for patients with cancer-related fatigue should include an evaluation of laboratory parameters, pain severity, and physical performance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was partially supported by the Korean Academy of Family Physicians Grant No. 08-01-3.
- Blood urea nitrogen
- physical performance
- terminal cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine