To review the available literature on the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments for cancer-related fatigue with an aim to develop directions for future research.
PubMed, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and SPORTDiscus were searched for relevant studies. Original clinical trials reporting on the use of CAM treatments for cancer-related fatigue were abstracted and critically reviewed.
CAM interventions tested for cancer-related fatigue include acupuncture, aromatherapy, adenosine triphosphate infusions, energy conservation and activity management, healing touch, hypnosis, lectin-standardized mistletoe extract, levocarnitine, massage, mindfulness-based stress reduction, polarity therapy, relaxation, sleep promotion, support group, and Tibetan yoga. Several of these interventions seem promising in initial studies.
Currently, insufficient data exist to recommend any specific CAM modality for cancer-related fatigue. Therefore, potentially effective CAM interventions ready for further study in large, randomized clinical trials (eg, acupuncture, massage, levocarnitine, and the use of mistletoe) should be pursued. Other interventions should be tested in well-designed feasibility and phase II trials.