Fatigue in patients undergoing radiation therapy: an observational study

Minerva Med. 2013 Apr;104(2):185-91.


Aim: Fatigue can be defined as an unpleasant feeling of tiredness, weakness and lack of energy. It is found in about 80% of the patients receiving radiation therapy and has a significant impact on quality of life. The aim of this paper was to assess the frequency, severity and changes of fatigue before, during and after administration of a nutraceutical (mixture of whey protein with an high biological value, with an high content in native cysteine, albumin and lactoferrin in patients undergoing treatment for breast and prostate cancer.

Methods: Thirty patients (20 breast and 10 prostate ones) were enrolled in our test and they received a questionnaire about Fatigue developed by the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1999. The patients who achieved a score between 4 and 6 were administered the nutraceutical (Prother) at a dose of 20 g / day for the first 10 days of radiation treatment and then 10 g/day for the following 20 days without considering the terms of the radiation oncology treatment [corrected]. Each patient was reassessed using the same Fatigue test after 10 and 30 days from the start of the administration of nutraceutical. We enrolled 30 control patients who did not receive Prother.

Results: The results showed the effectiveness of Prother in all patients with moderate-to-mild fatigue.

Conclusion: The administration of Prother has therefore been effective in terms of both improving the compliance of the radiation treatment and the quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Albumins / administration & dosage
  • Breast Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Cysteine / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lactoferrin / administration & dosage
  • Male
  • Milk Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Whey Proteins


  • Albumins
  • Milk Proteins
  • Whey Proteins
  • Lactoferrin
  • Cysteine