More fascinating evidence came out this month that positive expectations help moderate a greater placebo effect size from sham acupuncture in the treatment of women with breast cancer and post-operative pain. In this study, 96 women were randomized to either get a positive or neutral verbal suggestion by an anesthesiologist before breast surgery, and afterwards the women were randomized to no acupuncture or sham acupuncture. Both post operative pain measurements and patient satisfaction with analgesia control was superior in those who had positive verbal suggestions. Weakness of study is potential for bias from lack of blinding to the study patients and study personnel.



In this timely review, the authors discuss evidence to support current management of chronic or chemotherapy related neuropathic pain, and a potential role for cannabinoids, particularly cannabidiol, which to date has shown a favorable therapeutic index albeit in limited small studies (i.e. efficacy which for cannabidiol is about 5 patients needed to treat to see a clinical response and is similar to other agents routinely used for this problem with a much less concerning side effect profile. For a nice powerpoint slide review on the topic, we also recommend checking out Dr. Antonio Vigano (McGill University) excellent overview at https://www.mascc.org/assets/2018_Meeting_Files/Fri29/Schubert_4-5/0958_Vigano_Schubert%204-5_Fri.pdf





 Abrams DI. Should Oncologists Recommend Cannabis? Curr Treat Options Oncol 2019 Jun 3;20(7):59-019-0659-9 PMID 31161270

OPINION STATEMENT: Cannabis is a useful botanical with a wide range of therapeutic potential. Global prohibition over the past century has impeded the ability to study the plant as medicine. However, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has been developed as a stand-alone pharmaceutical initially approved for the treatment of chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in 1986. The indication was expanded in 1992 to include treatment of anorexia in patients with the AIDS wasting syndrome. Hence, if the dominant cannabinoid is available as a schedule III prescription medication, it would seem logical that the parent botanical would likely have similar therapeutic benefits. The system of cannabinoid receptors and endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) has likely developed to help us modulate our response to noxious stimuli. Phytocannabinoids also complex with these receptors, and the analgesic effects of cannabis are perhaps the best supported by clinical evidence. Cannabis and its constituents have also been reported to be useful in assisting with sleep, mood, and anxiety. Despite significant in vitro and animal model evidence supporting the anti-cancer activity of individual cannabinoids-particularly THC and cannabidiol (CBD)-clinical evidence is absent. A single intervention that can assist with nausea, appetite, pain, mood, and sleep is certainly a valuable addition to the palliative care armamentarium. Although many healthcare providers advise against the inhalation of a botanical as a twenty-first century drug-delivery system, evidence for serious harmful effects of cannabis inhalation is scant and a variety of other methods of ingestion are currently available from dispensaries in locales where patients have access to medicinal cannabis. Oncologists and palliative care providers should recommend this botanical remedy to their patients to gain first-hand evidence of its therapeutic potential despite the paucity of results from randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials to appreciate that it is both safe and effective and really does not require a package insert.


Benson S, Hagen S, Hoffmann O, Pasler A, Bingel U, Schedlowski M, et al. Can a brief psychological expectancy intervention improve postoperative pain? A randomized, controlled trial in patients with breast cancer. Pain 2019 Jul;160(7):1562-1571 PMID 30839426

Pain after surgery remains a major health problem, calling for optimized treatment regimens to maximize the efficacy of pharmacological interventions. In this randomized controlled trial, we tested in a routine surgical treatment setting whether postoperative pain can be reduced by a brief preoperative intervention, ie, positive verbal suggestions in combination with sham acupuncture, designed to optimize treatment expectations. We hypothesized that the expectancy intervention as add-on to patient-controlled intravenous analgesia with morphine reduces patient-reported postoperative pain and improves satisfaction with analgesia. Ninety-six women undergoing breast cancer surgery were randomized at 2 stages: Before surgery, anesthesiologists delivered either positive or neutral verbal suggestions regarding the benefits of acupuncture needling on postoperative pain ("information condition"). Patients were then randomized to receive sham acupuncture or no sham acupuncture during postoperative care ("sham acupuncture condition"). Average pain during the 24-hour observation period after surgery as primary and satisfaction with analgesia as secondary outcome was assessed with standardized measures and analyzed with analysis of covariance accounting for morphine dose, surgery-related, and psychological parameters. Postoperative pain ratings were significantly reduced in patients who received positive treatment-related suggestions (F = 4.45, P = 0.038, main effect of information). Moreover, patients who received an intervention aimed at optimized treatment expectations reported significantly greater satisfaction with analgesia (F = 4.89, P = 0.030, interaction effect). Together, our proof-of-concept data support that optimizing treatment expectations through verbal suggestions may offer a promising approach to improve patient-reported outcomes. Future translational and clinical studies are needed to test such psychological strategies in different surgical interventions, patient groups, and pharmacological treatment regimens.


Blanton HL, Brelsfoard J, DeTurk N, Pruitt K, Narasimhan M, Morgan DJ, et al. Cannabinoids: Current and Future Options to Treat Chronic and Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain. Drugs 2019 Jun;79(9):969-995 PMID 31127530

Increases in cancer diagnosis have tremendous negative impacts on patients and their families, and major societal and economic costs. The beneficial effect of chemotherapeutic agents on tumor suppression comes with major unwanted side effects such as weight and hair loss, nausea and vomiting, and neuropathic pain. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), which can include both painful and non-painful symptoms, can persist 6 months or longer after the patient's last chemotherapeutic treatment. These peripheral sensory and motor deficits are poorly treated by our current analgesics with limited effectiveness. Therefore, the development of novel treatment strategies is an important preclinical research focus and an urgent need for patients. Approaches to prevent CIPN have yielded disappointing results since these compounds may interfere with the anti-tumor properties of chemotherapeutic agents. Nevertheless, the first (serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors [SNRIs], anticonvulsants, tricyclic antidepressants) and second (5% lidocaine patches, 8% capsaicin patches and weak opioids such as tramadol) lines of treatment for CIPN have shown some efficacy. The clinical challenge of CIPN management in cancer patients and the need to target novel therapies with long-term efficacy in alleviating CIPN are an ongoing focus of research. The endogenous cannabinoid system has shown great promise and efficacy in alleviating CIPN in preclinical and clinical studies. In this review, we will discuss the mechanisms through which the platinum, taxane, and vinca alkaloid classes of chemotherapeutics may produce CIPN and the potential therapeutic effect of drugs targeting the endocannabinoid system in preclinical and clinical studies, in addition to cannabinoid compounds diffuse mechanisms of action in alleviation of CIPN.

Braun IM, Blonquist TM, Campbell EG, Nayak MM, Bolcic-Jankovic D, Wright AA. Medical Oncologists' Views on the Utility of Medical Marijuana Across the Cancer Trajectory. J Pain Symptom Manage 2019 Jun;57(6):e1-e4 PMID 30794936

Cottingham AH, Beck-Coon K, Bernat JK, Helft PR, Schmidt K, Shields CG, et al. Addressing personal barriers to advance care planning: Qualitative investigation of a mindfulness-based intervention for adults with cancer and their family caregivers. Palliat Support Care 2019 Jun;17(3):276-285 PMID 29880064

OBJECTIVE: Advance care planning (ACP) increases quality of life and satisfaction with care for those with cancer and their families, yet these important conversations often do not occur. Barriers include patients' and families' emotional responses to cancer, such as anxiety and sadness, which can lead to avoidance of discussing illness-related topics such as ACP. Interventions that address psychological barriers to ACP are needed. The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of a mindfulness intervention designed to cultivate patient and caregiver emotional and relational capacity to respond to the challenges of cancer with greater ease, potentially decreasing psychological barriers to ACP and enhancing ACP engagement. METHOD: The Mindfully Optimizing Delivery of End-of-Life (MODEL) Care intervention provided 12 hours of experiential training to two cohorts of six to seven adults with advanced-stage cancer and their family caregivers (n = 13 dyads). Training included mindfulness practices, mindful communication skills development, and information about ACP. Patient and caregiver experiences of the MODEL Care program were assessed using semistructured interviews administered immediately postintervention and open-ended survey questions delivered immediately and at 4 weeks postintervention. Responses were analyzed using qualitative methods.ResultFour salient themes were identified. Patients and caregivers reported the intervention (1) enhanced adaptive coping practices, (2) lowered emotional reactivity, (3) strengthened relationships, and (4) improved communication, including communication about their disease.Significance of resultsThe MODEL Care intervention enhanced patient and caregiver capacity to respond to the emotional challenges that often accompany advanced cancer and decreased patient and caregiver psychological barriers to ACP.

Danhauer SC, Addington EL, Cohen L, Sohl SJ, Van Puymbroeck M, Albinati NK, et al. Yoga for symptom management in oncology: A review of the evidence base and future directions for research. Cancer 2019 Jun 15;125(12):1979-1989 PMID 30933317

Because yoga is increasingly recognized as a complementary approach to cancer symptom management, patients/survivors and providers need to understand its potential benefits and limitations both during and after treatment. The authors reviewed randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of yoga conducted at these points in the cancer continuum (N = 29; n = 13 during treatment, n = 12 post-treatment, and n = 4 with mixed samples). Findings both during and after treatment demonstrated the efficacy of yoga to improve overall quality of life (QOL), with improvement in subdomains of QOL varying across studies. Fatigue was the most commonly measured outcome, and most RCTs conducted during or after cancer treatment reported improvements in fatigue. Results also suggested that yoga can improve stress/distress during treatment and post-treatment disturbances in sleep and cognition. Several RCTs provided evidence that yoga may improve biomarkers of stress, inflammation, and immune function. Outcomes with limited or mixed findings (eg, anxiety, depression, pain, cancer-specific symptoms, such as lymphedema) and positive psychological outcomes (such as benefit-finding and life satisfaction) warrant further study. Important future directions for yoga research in oncology include: enrolling participants with cancer types other than breast, standardizing self-report assessments, increasing the use of active control groups and objective measures, and addressing the heterogeneity of yoga interventions, which vary in type, key components (movement, meditation, breathing), dose, and delivery mode.


Das A, Watson J, Carnevale L, Arnold W. Omega-3 Endocannabinoid-Epoxides Are Novel Anti-inflammatory and Anti-Pain Lipid Metabolites (FS15-01-19). Curr Dev Nutr 2019 Jun 13;3(Suppl 1):10.1093/cdn/nzz031.FS15-01-19. eCollection 2019 Jun PMID 31223777

Objectives: Omega-3 fatty acid derived endocannabinoids are metabolized by cytochrome P450s to form bioactive endocannabinoid epoxides that are anti-inflammatory. Methods: Lipidomics, LC-MS/MS, microglial cells culture, lipid synthesis, extractions, enzymology. Results: Cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Exocannabinoids in marijuana, are known to be responsible for some of its euphoric effects, but they also exhibit anti-inflammatory benefits. Our study revealed a cascade of enzymatic reactions that convert omega-3 fatty acids into anti-inflammatory endocannabinoid epoxides that act through the same receptors in the body as marijuana (PNAS 2017). Endocannabinoids are ligands for cannabinoid receptor 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2). CB1 receptor agonists exhibit psychotropic properties while CB2 receptor agonists have anti-inflammatory effects. Consequently, there is a strong interest in the discovery of CB2 selective agonists to mitigate inflammatory pathologies. The work details the discovery and characterization of naturally occurring omega-3-derived endocannabinoid epoxides that are formed via enzymatic oxidation of omega-3 endocannabinoids by cytochrome P450 epoxygenases. These dual functional omega-3 endocannabinoid epoxides exhibit preference towards binding to CB2 receptor and are anti-inflammatory and vasodilatory and reciprocally modulate platelet aggregation. Some of the other regioisomers of omega-3 endocannabinoid epoxides are partial agonists of CB1 and stop tumor cell metastasis (J. Med. Chem 2018). By virtue of their physiological properties, they are expected to play important roles in neuroinflammation and pain. Conclusions: This finding demonstrates how omega-3 fatty acids can produce some of the same medicinal qualities as marijuana, but without a psychotropic effect. In summary, the omega-3 endocannabinoid epoxides are found at concentrations comparable to those of other endocannabinoids and are expected to play critical roles during inflammation in vivo. Funding Sources: American Heart Association Scientist Development award, National Institute of Health (NIH) R01, NIH R03, USDA, National Multiple Sclerosis Society.


Gansler T, Strollo S, Fallon E, Leach C. Use of complementary/integrative methods: cancer survivors' misconceptions about recurrence prevention. J Cancer Surviv 2019 Jun;13(3):418-428 PMID 31069624

PURPOSE: Many cancer survivors use complementary and alternative health methods (CAM). Because we are unaware of high-level evidence supporting CAM for preventing cancer recurrence, we studied post-treatment survivors who use CAM to assess (1) the percentage who included preventing recurrence as a motive for using CAM, (2) characteristics of survivors who use CAM intended to prevent recurrence, and (3) CAM domains associated with use for recurrence prevention. METHODS: We studied participants in the American Cancer Society's Study of Cancer Survivors-I (nationwide study of adult survivors) who used CAM (excluding osteopathy, yoga, tai chi, or qi gong users, as well as anyone whose only reported CAM was prayer/meditation). Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine associations of independent variables with CAM use for recurrence prevention. RESULTS: Among 1220 survivors using CAM, 14.8% reported recurrence prevention as a reason for CAM use (although only 0.4% indicated this was their only reason). The following were independently associated with odds of CAM use to prevent recurrence: not being married/in a marriage-like relationship (OR = 1.53, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-2.23), using mind-body (OR = 1.65, 95% CI 1.08-2.51) or biologically based (OR = 4.11, 95% CI 1.96-8.59) CAM and clinically relevant fear of recurrence (OR = 1.96, 95% CI 1.38-2.78). CONCLUSIONS: Approximately 1/7 of survivors who use CAM have unrealistic expectations about CAM reducing recurrence risk. This expectation is strongly associated with the use of biologically based CAM. IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: Patient education should support informed decisions and realistic expectations regarding any complementary/integrative or mainstream/conventional clinical intervention.

Huang T, Trudel-Fitzgerald C, Poole EM, Sawyer S, Kubzansky LD, Hankinson SE, et al. The Mind-Body Study: study design and reproducibility and interrelationships of psychosocial factors in the Nurses' Health Study II. Cancer Causes Control 2019 Jul;30(7):779-790 PMID 31049751

PURPOSE: Associations between psychosocial factors and biomarkers are increasingly investigated in studies of cancer incidence and mortality. Documenting optimal data/biospecimen collection protocols and scale properties are fundamental for elucidating the impact of psychosocial factors on biologic systems and ultimately cancer development/progression. METHODS: Between 2013 and 2014, 233 Nurses' Health Study II women (mean age: 60.6) participated in the Mind-Body Study. Participants completed a detailed online psychosocial assessment and provided hair, toenail, timed saliva over 1 day, urine and fasting blood twice, 1 year apart. Additionally, two separate microbiome collections for stool and saliva were conducted between the psychosocial assessments. We assessed correlations between various psychosocial measures and evaluated their 1-year reproducibility using intraclass correlations (ICC). RESULTS: Compliance with the protocols was high among participants. Psychosocial measures showed moderate-to-high reproducibility over 1 year (ICCs = 0.51-0.81). There was clear clustering of psychosocial factors according to whether they were querying positive (e.g., optimism, mastery, mindfulness) or negative (e.g., anxiety, depression, discrimination) emotion-related or social constructs. CONCLUSION: Results suggest feasibility for self-administered collection of various biospecimens and moderate-to-high reproducibility of psychosocial factors. The Mind-Body Study provides a unique resource for assessing inter-relationships between psychosocial factors and biological processes linked with long-term health outcomes, including carcinogenesis.


Huberty J, Eckert R, Dueck A, Kosiorek H, Larkey L, Gowin K, et al. Online yoga in myeloproliferative neoplasm patients: results of a randomized pilot trial to inform future research. BMC Complement Altern Med 2019 Jun 7;19(1):121-019-2530-8 PMID 31174535

BACKGROUND: Myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) patients suffer from significant symptoms, inflammation and reduced quality of life. Yoga improves these outcomes in other cancers, but this hasn't been demonstrated in MPNs. The purpose of this study was to: (1) explore the limited efficacy (does the program show promise of success) of a 12-week online yoga intervention among MPN patients on symptom burden and quality of life and (2) determine feasibility (practicality: to what extent a measure can be carried out) of remotely collecting inflammatory biomarkers. METHODS: Patients were recruited nationally and randomized to online yoga (60 min/week of yoga) or wait-list control (asked to maintain normal activity). Weekly yoga minutes were collected with Clicky (online web analytics tool) and self-report. Those in online yoga completed a blood draw at baseline and week 12 to assess inflammation (interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha [TNF-alpha]). All participants completed questionnaires assessing depression, anxiety, fatigue, pain, sleep disturbance, sexual function, total symptom burden, global health, and quality of life at baseline, week seven, 12, and 16. Change from baseline at each time point was computed by group and effect sizes were calculated. Pre-post intervention change in inflammation for the yoga group was compared by t-test. RESULTS: Sixty-two MPN patients enrolled and 48 completed the intervention (online yoga = 27; control group = 21). Yoga participation averaged 40.8 min/week via Clicky and 56.1 min/week via self-report. Small/moderate effect sizes were generated from the yoga intervention for sleep disturbance (d = - 0.26 to - 0.61), pain intensity (d = - 0.34 to - 0.51), anxiety (d = - 0.27 to - 0.37), and depression (d = - 0.53 to - 0.78). A total of 92.6 and 70.4% of online yoga participants completed the blood draw at baseline and week 12, respectively, and there was a decrease in TNF-alpha from baseline to week 12 (- 1.3 +/- 1.5 pg/ml). CONCLUSIONS: Online yoga demonstrated small effects on sleep, pain, and anxiety as well as a moderate effect on depression. Remote blood draw procedures are feasible and the effect size of the intervention on TNF-alpha was large. Future fully powered randomized controlled trials are needed to test for efficacy. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was retrospectively registered with clinicaltrials.gov (ID: NCT03503838 ) on 4/19/2018.


Irmak Z, Tanriverdi O, Odemis H, Uysal DD. Use of complementary and alternative medicine and quality of life of cancer patients who received chemotherapy in Turkey. Complement Ther Med 2019 Jun;44:143-150 PMID 31126547

OBJECTIVES: This study aims to evaluate the frequency of use of CAM therapies among cancer patients, the types of CAM therapies they used, the demographic and clinical factors affecting their tendency to use CAM therapies, and the difference between quality of life of CAM user and non-user patients. DESIGN: This cross-sectional study was carried out between March and June 2016 in an education and research hospital located in Mugla, Turkey. A CAM use questionnaire, the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer-Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30 version 3.0) and the Nightingale Symptom Assessment Scale (N-SAS) were administered to 211 patients. RESULTS: Among all the participating patients, 46.4% were CAM users. The most commonly used CAM therapy was herbal products. The rate of CAM use was higher among the patients with a low education level (P = 0.004). No statistically significant difference was found between the quality-of-life scores of the CAM user and non-user patients. CONCLUSION: Almost half of the cancer patients used CAM therapy, with the most commonly used CAM therapy being herbal products. Doctors/nurses should assess patients in terms of the CAM therapies they use to determine their possible side effects and drug interactions. Further research should be performed to determine the relationship between CAM therapy and quality of life.

Kim TH, Kang JW. Acupuncture for symptoms management in Korean breast cancer survivors: a prospective pilot study. Acupunct Med 2019 Jun;37(3):164-174 PMID 30896247

BACKGROUND: There is an unmet need for effective treatment of the various treatment-related symptoms experienced by breast cancer survivors. These symptoms could be alleviated by acupuncture. Although several lines of evidence in Western countries suggest that acupuncture has a beneficial effect on symptoms in breast cancer survivors, few relevant studies have been conducted in Korean patients. This pilot study assessed the feasibility of acupuncture for a variety of treatment-related symptoms in Korean breast cancer survivors. METHOD: From October 2015 to March 2016, we recruited patients who had undergone treatment for breast cancer and subsequently reported symptoms, including aromatase inhibitor-related knee pain, vasomotor symptoms, insomnia, sexual dysfunction and post-mastectomy pain in the chest wall or shoulder. The women received 4 weeks of symptom-specific acupuncture followed by a further 4 weeks of follow-up to evaluate the feasibility of acupuncture for this indication, and its impact on common and symptom-specific outcome variables. RESULTS: Eight study participants were recruited over a period of 6 months, six of whom completed the planned acupuncture treatment and follow-up assessments. A total of 78 acupuncture sessions were performed. We found that acupuncture was feasible, with only six minor self-limiting acupuncture-related adverse events. Most of the women felt that they had benefitted from participation in the study. The preliminary analysis indicated improvement in common symptom-specific outcomes. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that acupuncture is feasible, but low recruitment rates should be considered when considering future acupuncture research in Korean breast cancer survivors. Rigorous evaluation of this symptomatic treatment strategy is now needed in the Korean population.


Kreutz C, Schmidt ME, Steindorf K. Effects of physical and mind-body exercise on sleep problems during and after breast cancer treatment: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2019 Jul;176(1):1-15 PMID 30955185

PURPOSE: We conducted a meta-analysis evaluating the effects of different exercise interventions on self-reported and objective sleep measurements during or after breast cancer treatment. METHODS: Three databases were systematically searched for randomized controlled trials with any type of exercise intervention in women with breast cancer. Outcomes were self-reported or objective sleep measurements. Standardized mean differences (SMDs) were calculated using random-effects models. RESULTS: The meta-analysis included 22 trials with 2107 participants. Of these, 17 studies used the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), six studies included objective sleep assessments (ActiGraph). Physical exercise interventions included walking, aerobic exercise, resistance exercise or a combination of both. Mind-body exercise interventions included yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong. Most interventions were supervised. Both, physical (SMD - 0.32; 95% CI - 0.54 to - 0.10) and mind-body exercise interventions (SMD - 0.27; 95% CI - 0.44 to - 0.09), resulted in improvements of total sleep scores. Subgroup analyses revealed no clear differences between interventions conducted during versus after breast cancer treatment. Considering the PSQI subscales, exercise resulted in improvements of sleep quality (SMD - 0.28; 95% CI - 0.44 to - 0.11) and sleep disturbances (SMD - 0.26; 95% CI - 0.45 to - 0.06). Regarding the objective measurements, no significant effects were found. CONCLUSIONS: Physical as well as mind-body exercise can improve subjective sleep problems in breast cancer patients. In contrast, there was no effect of exercise on objective sleep measures. Future studies should clarify which type of intervention might be most effective depending on individual patients' and treatments' characteristics.


Langelier DM, D'Silva A, Shank J, Grant C, Bridel W, Culos-Reed SN. Exercise interventions and their effect on masculinity, body image, and personal identity in prostate cancer-A systematic qualitative review. Psychooncology 2019 Jun;28(6):1184-1196 PMID 30875710

OBJECTIVE: Men with prostate cancer face various body composition and psychosocial challenges following diagnosis. Movement-based interventions such as exercise may represent novel strategies to improve these important biopsychosocial changes. This systematic qualitative review aimed to examine the various exercise interventions and their effect on male perception of masculinity, body image, and personal identity. METHODS: A systematic search across nine electronic databases was conducted in July 2017 and repeated in August 2018. Eligible studies included qualitative works examining masculinity, body image, or personal identity within an exercise intervention. Thematic content analysis allowed for qualitative synthesis across numerous studies. RESULTS: Six studies met eligibility criteria for inclusion. Four interventions used multimodal aerobic and resistance training, one incorporated aerobic exercise through football practice, and one utilized a home-based aerobic plus yoga program. Exercise was implicated to improve masculinity through creation of a safe community, allowed for refocusing on valued male traits, provided a source of distraction, and offered a means of establishing control over one's illness. Exercise also facilitated a process of self-reflection secondary to changes in physique and helped to re-establish male self-efficacy. CONCLUSIONS: Regardless of prostate cancer stage, treatment status, or prior androgen deprivation therapy exposure, both aerobic or aerobic and resistance training exerted positive effects on perceived feelings of masculinity, body image, and personal identity.


Qan'ir Y, DeDeaux D, Godley PA, Mayer DK, Song L. Management of Androgen Deprivation Therapy-Associated Hot Flashes in Men With Prostate Cancer. Oncol Nurs Forum 2019 Jul 1;46(4):E107-E118 PMID 31225840

PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION: To determine best practices for managing hot flashes associated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) in men with prostate cancer. LITERATURE SEARCH: The CINAHL(R), Embase(R), PsycINFO(R), PubMed(R), and Scopus(R) databases were used to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasiexperimental studies published between January 1994 and June 2018. DATA EVALUATION: Using the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, the authors reviewed 15 studies examining the effects of pharmacologic or complementary and alternative medicine interventions on ADT-associated hot flashes in men with prostate cancer. SYNTHESIS: Pharmacologic interventions (e.g., cyproterone, medroxyprogesterone, megestrol acetate) showed some promise for reducing hot flashes but were associated with side effects and risks. Acupuncture demonstrated potential benefit in reducing hot flashes without side effects. IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH: Evidence is insufficient to support interventions for ADT-associated hot flashes in men with prostate cancer. Future RCTs should be sufficiently powered, include a control group, and use standardized outcome measures.


Russell L, Ugalde A, Orellana L, Milne D, Krishnasamy M, Chambers R, et al. A pilot randomised controlled trial of an online mindfulness-based program for people diagnosed with melanoma. Support Care Cancer 2019 Jul;27(7):2735-2746 PMID 30506103

PURPOSE: This study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of an online mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) for people diagnosed with melanoma. The potential benefit of the MBI on fear of cancer recurrence (FCR), worry, rumination, perceived stress and trait mindfulness was also explored. METHODS: Participants who have completed treatment for stage 2c or 3 melanoma were recruited from an outpatient clinic and randomly allocated to either the online MBI (intervention) or usual care (control). The 6-week online MBI comprised short videos, daily guided meditations and automated email reminders. Participants were asked to complete questionnaires at baseline and at 6-week post-randomisation. Study feasibility and acceptability were assessed through recruitment rates, retention and participant feedback. Clinical and psychosocial outcomes were compared between groups using linear mixed models. RESULTS: Sixty-nine (58%) eligible participants were randomised (46 in the intervention; 23 in the control group); mean age was 53.4 (SD 13.1); 54% were female. Study completion rate across both arms was 80%. The intervention was found helpful by 72% of the 32 respondents. The intervention significantly reduced the severity of FCR compared to the control group (mean difference = - 2.55; 95% CI - 4.43, - 0.67; p = 0.008). There was no difference between the intervention and control groups on any of the outcome measures. CONCLUSIONS: This online MBI was feasible and acceptable by people at high risk of melanoma recurrence. It significantly reduced FCR severity in this sample. Patients valued accessing the program at their own pace and convenience. This self-guided intervention has the potential to help survivors cope with emotional difficulties. An adequately powered randomised controlled trial to test study findings is warranted.