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Megestrol to Limit Weight Loss and Improve Quality of Life in Treating Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
Wake Forest Baptist Health Identifier:
First received: December 6, 2000
Last updated: August 20, 2009
Last verified: August 2009

December 6, 2000
August 20, 2009
October 2000
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Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00006799 on Archive Site
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Megestrol to Limit Weight Loss and Improve Quality of Life in Treating Patients With Head and Neck Cancer
A Phase III, Double-Blind, Randomized Study Of The Effect Of Megestrol Acetate On Weight And Health Related Quality Of Life In Head And Neck Cancer Patients Receiving Radiation Therapy

RATIONALE: Megestrol helps improve appetite. It is not yet known if megestrol is effective in limiting weight loss caused by cancer.

PURPOSE: Randomized phase III trial to determine the effectiveness of megestrol in limiting weight loss and improving quality of life in patients who have head and neck cancer and are undergoing radiation therapy.


  • Determine the effect of megestrol on the weight of patients with head and neck cancer who are undergoing localized radiotherapy.
  • Determine whether health-related quality of life improves in patients treated with megestrol.

OUTLINE: This is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study. Patients are stratified according to type of treatment (radiotherapy alone vs radiotherapy plus platinum-based chemotherapy vs radiotherapy plus non-platinum-based chemotherapy) and type of radiotherapy (primary vs postoperative). Patients are randomized to one of two treatment arms.

  • Arm I: Patients receive oral megestrol daily beginning within the first three days of radiotherapy and continuing during 5-7 weeks of radiotherapy and for 12 weeks after completion of radiotherapy.
  • Arm II: Patients receive oral placebo daily according to the schedule for megestrol in arm I.

Quality of life is assessed at baseline, at completion of radiotherapy, and then at 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks after completion of radiotherapy.

PROJECTED ACCRUAL: A total of 48-144 patients (24-72 per arm) will be accrued for this study within 14 months.

Phase 3
Allocation: Randomized
Masking: Double-Blind
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
  • Anorexia
  • Cachexia
  • Head and Neck Cancer
  • Quality of Life
  • Drug: megestrol acetate
  • Procedure: quality-of-life assessment
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*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
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  • Histologically proven resected or unresectable stage I-IV epithelial head and neck cancer
  • Must be scheduled to receive a total dose of radiotherapy of at least 5,000 cGy in fraction sizes of no greater than 200 cGy
  • No distant metastases



  • Over 18

Performance status:

  • ECOG 0-2

Life expectancy:

  • More than 3 months


  • Not specified


  • Not specified


  • Not specified


  • No history of congestive heart failure or thromboembolic events
  • No uncontrolled hypertension, active thromboembolic disease, or myocardial infarction within the past 3 months


  • No history of pulmonary edema


  • No other malignancy within the past 3 years except curatively treated carcinoma in situ of the cervix or nonmelanoma skin cancer
  • No feeding tube
  • No preexisting or uncontrolled diabetes with glycosylated hemoglobin greater than 10%
  • No history of Cushing's syndrome
  • No dietary restriction (salt, sugar, or lipid)
  • No serious medical or psychiatric illness that would preclude study
  • No significant ascites, pleural effusions, or edema that may inhibit oral food intake or invalidate weight measurements
  • Not pregnant or nursing
  • Negative pregnancy test
  • Fertile patients must use effective contraception


Biologic therapy:

  • Not specified


  • Prior chemotherapy allowed

Endocrine therapy:

  • At least 1 year since prior corticosteroids, estrogens, progestins, or any other steroid hormone
  • No concurrent estrogens or other progestins
  • Concurrent glucocorticoid replacement (10 mg of prednisone a day) allowed only if patient experiences moderate "stress" (e.g., infection, trauma, or fluid loss sufficient to require hospitalization and/or IV fluid replacement)


  • See Disease Characteristics
  • No prior radiotherapy to the head and neck


  • Not specified
18 Years and older
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
United States
CDR0000068329, CCCWFU-97300, CCCWFU-0009, CCCWFU-BG00-228, NCI-P00-0174
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Wake Forest Baptist Health
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Study Chair: Kathryn M. Greven, MD Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest University
Wake Forest Baptist Health
August 2009

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP