Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 26, Issue 7, pp 2479–2489 | Cite as

Randomized double-blind clinical trial of combined treatment with megestrol acetate plus celecoxib versus megestrol acetate alone in cachexia-anorexia syndrome induced by GI cancers

  • Bizhan Kouchaki
  • Ghasem Janbabai
  • Abbas Alipour
  • Shahram Ala
  • Samaneh Borhani
  • Ebrahim SalehifarEmail author
Original Article



Previous studies reported promising efficacy for celecoxib in the treatment of cancer cachexia. We designed this study to test the hypothesis that combination therapy with megestrol acetate (MA) plus celecoxib is superior to MA alone.


Ninety eligible gastrointestinal cancer patients randomly received either MA 320 mg/day plus placebo (arm1) or MA 320 mg/day plus celecoxib 200 mg/day (arm2). Patients were evaluated at baseline, then 1 and 2 months after starting interventions. The primary outcome was body weight. Secondary outcomes were quality of life, grip strength, appetite score, performance status, plasma albumin, CRP, IL-6, and Glasgow Prognostic Score.


Patients were comparable at baseline. Sixty patients were assessable for the first month and 33 patients for the second month. After 2 months, patients in arm1 (MA + placebo) and arm2 (MA + celecoxib) experienced 4.0 ± 3.4 and 2.2 ± 3.6Kg of weight gain respectively (P = 0.163). Changes relative to baseline were statistically significant in both arms of the study (P = 0.001). Regarding secondary outcomes, comparisons between groups did not show any statistically significant difference, but within-group changes were significant in both arms of the study.


Since both MA alone and MA plus celecoxib are associated with improvement of cachexia in GI cancer patients, this study failed to show that adding celecoxib (200 mg/day) to megestrol (320 mg/day) could enhance anti-cachexic effects of megestrol.


Cachexia Celecoxib Megestrol acetate CRP IL-6 Grip strength 


Compliance with ethical standards

The protocol was approved by Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences Ethical Committee (IR.MAZUMS.REC.94-1087) and registered in Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials (IRCT201407222027N4). All patients gave written informed consent before inclusion into the study.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

520_2018_4047_MOESM1_ESM.sav (67 kb)
ESM 1 (SAV 67 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Student Research Committee, Faculty of PharmacyMazandaran University of Medical SciencesSariIran
  2. 2.Gastrointestinal Cancer Research CenterMazandaran University of Medical SciencesSariIran
  3. 3.Faculty of MedicineMazandaran University of Medical SciencesSariIran
  4. 4.Pharmaceutical Research CenterMazandaran University of Medical SciencesSariIran
  5. 5.Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of PharmacyMazandaran University of Medical SciencesSariIran

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