Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Treating Patients With Advanced Cancer Who Have Significant Weight Loss

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
National Cancer Institute (NCI) Identifier:
First received: November 1, 1999
Last updated: February 19, 2012
Last verified: February 2007

RATIONALE: Omega-3 fatty acids are used by the body for energy and tissue development and may be an effective treatment for patients with advanced cancer who are unable to maintain their body weight.

PURPOSE: Phase I/II trial to study the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids in treating patients with advanced cancer who have significant weight loss.

Condition Intervention Phase
Multiple Myeloma and Plasma Cell Neoplasm
Precancerous Condition
Dietary Supplement: omega-3 fatty acid
Phase 1
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Official Title: Phase I/II Trial of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Cancer Cachexia

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Cancer Institute (NCI):

Estimated Enrollment: 63
Study Start Date: October 1995
Primary Completion Date: November 2004 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Detailed Description:


  • Determine whether omega-3 fatty acids will reverse weight loss in advanced cancer patients with cachexia.
  • Determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of omega-3 fatty acids in these patients (phase I completed 12/1999).
  • Determine whether omega-3 fatty acids will result in an antitumor response.

OUTLINE: This is a randomized, stratified, dose escalation study. Patients are stratified by the extent of weight loss (2-5 percent or greater than 5 percent in the past month).

Patients receive omega-3 fatty acids orally in two equal doses with/after breakfast and lunch for 4 months or until weight loss is observed.

Dose is escalated in cohorts of two patients, although dose escalation is allowed in individual patients. The maximum tolerated dose (MTD) is defined as the highest dose level at which no greater than one-third of the patients treated, including escalated patients from a lower dose, experience grade 3 or worse toxicity (phase I completed 12/1999).

Patients are evaluated for cachexia response every 2 weeks, and tumor response every 4 weeks for a maximum of 4 months. If no response of cachexia or tumor after a 2 month period, patients will be discontinued from study. Patients will be followed for survival post-treatment.

PROJECTED ACCRUAL: A total of 57-63 patients will be enrolled in the Phase I and II study.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No


  • Histologically or cytologically proven advanced cancer not amenable to curative therapy (solid tumors and hematologic malignancies eligible except primary and metastatic brain tumors)
  • Cachexia (weight loss at least 2 percent within a one month period)



  • 18 and over

Performance Status:

  • CALBG 0-2

Life Expectancy:

  • At least 2 months


  • Granulocytes greater than 1,000/mm3
  • Platelet count greater than 75,000/mm3
  • Hemoglobin greater than 8 mg/dL


  • AST less than 3 times upper limit of normal (ULN)
  • Alkaline phosphatase less than 3 times ULN
  • Bilirubin less than 1.5 times ULN


  • BUN less than 1.5 times ULN
  • Creatinine less than 1.5 times ULN


  • No congestive heart failure requiring diuretics within less than 6 months
  • No uncontrolled or severe cardiovascular disease within less than 6 months
  • No myocardial infarction within less than 6 months


  • Not pregnant nor contemplating pregnancy during study
  • Negative pregnancy test
  • No uncontrolled hypercalcemia
  • No metabolic disorders (hyperthyroidism)
  • No poorly controlled diabetes
  • No peripheral edema or ascites requiring diuretics
  • No enteric fistulas, with tracheobronchial fistulas or with aspiration
  • No esophageal or bowel obstruction that would preclude eating
  • Free T4 within normal range
  • No serious medical illness
  • No psychosis
  • No uncontrolled bacterial, viral, or fungal infections
  • No active uncontrolled duodenal ulcers
  • Above laboratory values required unless bone marrow, liver, kidney, or splenic involvement by tumor is documented


Biologic therapy:

  • Not specified


  • Prior and concurrent chemotherapy allowed

Endocrine therapy:

  • No concurrent steroids such as dronabinol or megestrol acetate (except for adrenal failure)


  • No prior or concurrent radiotherapy to abdomen or pelvis


  • Greater than 3 weeks since major surgery
  • Greater than 1 week since minor surgery


  • No concurrent diuretics
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00003077

United States, Delaware
CCOP - Christiana Care Health Services
Wilmington, Delaware, United States, 19899
United States, Iowa
Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa, United States, 52242-1009
United States, New York
North Shore University Hospital
Manhasset, New York, United States, 11030
New York Presbyterian Hospital - Cornell Campus
New York, New York, United States, 10021
United States, North Carolina
CCOP - Southeast Cancer Control Consortium
Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States, 27104-4241
Sponsors and Collaborators
Cancer and Leukemia Group B
Study Chair: C. Patrick Burns, MD Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center
  More Information

Additional Information:
Publications: Identifier: NCT00003077     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: CDR0000065766, CLB-9473, NCI-P97-0097
Study First Received: November 1, 1999
Last Updated: February 19, 2012
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by National Cancer Institute (NCI):
stage III adult Hodgkin lymphoma
stage IV adult Hodgkin lymphoma
monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance
recurrent adult Hodgkin lymphoma
isolated plasmacytoma of bone
extramedullary plasmacytoma
refractory multiple myeloma
Waldenström macroglobulinemia
stage III multiple myeloma
stage III chronic lymphocytic leukemia
stage IV chronic lymphocytic leukemia
recurrent adult acute myeloid leukemia
recurrent adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia
relapsing chronic myelogenous leukemia
refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia
chronic phase chronic myelogenous leukemia
accelerated phase chronic myelogenous leukemia
blastic phase chronic myelogenous leukemia
meningeal chronic myelogenous leukemia
untreated adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia
untreated adult acute myeloid leukemia
adult acute myeloid leukemia in remission
adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia in remission
untreated hairy cell leukemia
progressive hairy cell leukemia, initial treatment
refractory hairy cell leukemia
chronic myelomonocytic leukemia
T-cell large granular lymphocyte leukemia
acute undifferentiated leukemia
stage III grade 1 follicular lymphoma

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Multiple Myeloma
Neoplasms, Plasma Cell
Precancerous Conditions
Blood Protein Disorders
Cardiovascular Diseases
Hematologic Diseases
Hemorrhagic Disorders
Hemostatic Disorders
Immune System Diseases
Immunoproliferative Disorders
Lymphoproliferative Disorders
Neoplasms by Histologic Type
Vascular Diseases processed this record on July 01, 2015