NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
January 24, 2006 • Volume 3 / Number 4E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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Featured Clinical TrialFeatured Clinical Trial

American Ginseng for Cancer-Related Fatigue

Name of the Trial
Randomized Study of American Ginseng in Patients with Cancer-Related Fatigue (NCCTG-N03CA). See the protocol summary at

Dr. Brent Bauer Principal Investigators
Drs. Brent Bauer, Charles Loprinzi, Teresa Rummans, Tait Shanafelt, Debra Barton, and Patricia A. Johnson, North Central Cancer Treatment Group

Why is This Trial Important?
Fatigue is a frequently debilitating symptom of cancer, as well as a common side effect of cancer treatment. Many cancer patients report experiencing extreme tiredness, exhaustion, and weakness, often severe enough to negatively affect their quality of life. At present, there are no standard approaches for the treatment of fatigue in cancer patients.

In this clinical trial, researchers are testing three different doses of American ginseng to see if it can help alleviate fatigue in cancer patients who experience fatigue related to their disease or treatment. American ginseng is a perennial herb related to the Asian variety of ginseng, which has been used for centuries in complementary and alternative medicines.

"Ginseng has a history of use in traditional medicine that suggests it may lessen the sense of fatigue that cancer patients experience, and some small studies have indicated that ginseng may have some efficacy as a remedy for fatigue," said Dr. Bauer. "Consequently, many cancer patients are using ginseng on their own to combat fatigue. By studying ginseng in a controlled setting, we can better determine whether it has a beneficial effect for patients experiencing fatigue and, if there is a negative effect, we'll be able to better educate patients about the possible danger."

Who Can Join This Trial?
Researchers want to enroll 280 patients aged 18 and over diagnosed with cancer who are experiencing cancer-related fatigue. See the list of eligibility criteria at

Where Is This Trial Taking Place?
Study sites in the United States are enrolling patients for this trial. See the list of study sites at

Contact Information
See the list of study contacts at or call NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). The call is toll free and completely confidential.

An archive of "Featured Clinical Trial" columns is available at