L-Carnitine (LC) plays an important role in the metabolism of fatty acids, and LC deficiency is associated with a feeling of weakness or general fatigue. Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy often develop LC deficiency, which is considered to be a factor contributing to general fatigue. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of LC supplementation as a treatment for general fatigue in cancer patients during chemotherapy. A total of 11 cancer patients who were suffering from general fatigue during chemotherapy in our hospital between September 2014 and December 2015 were examined (6 cases involved adjuvant chemotherapy and 5 cases involved chemotherapy for unresectable or recurrent disease). The patients were administered 1,500 mg/day of levocarnitine per os, and the change in mean daily fatigue from the baseline to 8 weeks was assessed using the Brief Fatigue Inventory. The change in the plasma levels of albumin and the lymphocyte counts from the baseline to 8 weeks were also assessed. LC supplementation reduced general fatigue in all cases. Moreover, LC supplementation maintained the plasma levels of albumin and lymphocyte counts during chemotherapy, and enabled patients to continue chemotherapy sequentially without dose reduction. Therefore, LC supplementation improved general fatigue in all the examined cancer patients during chemotherapy. This treatment may make improve the tolerability of chemotherapy in cancer patients by reducing general fatigue and improving the nutritional status.
Keywords: L-carnitine; chemotherapy; general fatigue.