The effect of chemotherapy on serum carnitine levels and fatigue in chemotherapy naive medical oncology patients: A pilot study

Wolfgang Marx, Laisa Teleni, Maree Ferguson, Euan Walpole, Elisabeth Isenring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Fatigue, a highly prevalent side-effect of anticancer therapy, poses a significant burden on patient quality of life. Carnitine deficiency has been implicated in the development of fatigue during chemotherapy.
Methods: This pilot study aimed to evaluate the relationship between chemotherapy-related fatigue and serum carnitine (total, free- and acyl: free carnitine ratio) in 35 chemotherapy-naïve oncology patients at baseline, 6 and12 weeks.
Results: Carnitine deficiency, based on acyl: free carnitine ratio, was detected in three patients at baseline but this did not persist to the next time point. Carnitine deficiency was not detected in any other participant throughout this study and levels of carnitine were not correlated with fatigue during the study period.
Conclusion: A relationship between carnitine status and fatigue was not found at the time points measured. Further research is required to confirm these results in a larger medical oncology population.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of nutritional disorders and therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2014


Cite this