Treatment-Related Fatigue

Fatigue related to cancer and cancer treatment is one of the most common and distressing symptoms reported by cancer patients. Fatigue negatively impacts quality of life and in some cases may even influence a patients’ decision to continue treatment. Fatigue is characterized by a state of extreme tiredness that interferes with physical and mental functioning regardless of recent activity or rest.
There is currently an unmet need for effective therapies to treat fatigue. No pharmaceutical therapies are currently approved for fatigue. Stimulant medications have been met with limited success in clinical trials and are still in development.

Chemotherapy Induced Fatigue

Biomodels has developed an animal model of chemotherapy-related fatigue. In this model, fatigue is measured by analyzing daily wheel running activity. Mice will voluntarily run on a running wheel for the majority of the time spent awake, allowing for a reliable and consistent measure of activity with minimal manipulation to the animal. Following treatment with doxorubicin, the amount of wheel running activity is reduced close to half that of controls. This difference primarily occurs in the second half of the wake cycle (afternoon) and is independent of anemia. Interestingly, patients often report their fatigue as most severe towards the latter half of their active time. Overall, this model demonstrates face validity as a model of chemotherapy-related fatigue and is useful for evaluating novel pharmaceuticals to treat the condition.

Study Design Table

Model Description Duration Endpoints
Chemotherapy Induced Fatigue Mice receive 2 cycles of doxorubicin treatment resulting in a reduction in voluntary wheel running activity 30 days Wheel running activity, Optional behavioral tests


Daily wheel running activity in untreated, control, and chemotherapy-treated mice
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