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Is clarithromycin a potential treatment for cachexia in people with lung cancer?: a feasibility study

Awan, Sarah; Crosby, Vincent; Potter, Vanessa; Hennig, Ivo; Baldwin, David; Ndlovu, Mehluli; Paradine, Sharon; Wilcock, Andrew


Sarah Awan

Vincent Crosby

Vanessa Potter

Ivo Hennig

David Baldwin

Mehluli Ndlovu

Sharon Paradine

Andrew Wilcock


Clarithromycin may improve cachexia and survival in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but adequately controlled data are lacking. This study was undertaken primarily to inform the feasibility and scale of a phase III trial. Eligible consenting patients with stage IV NSCLC and cachexia were to be randomized to receive either clarithromycin 250 mg twice daily or placebo for eight weeks. Aspects of trial feasibility recorded included numbers eligible, approached and recruited, together with adherence and completion of treatment and assessments. Over 6 months, none of 125 patients identified fulfilled the entry criteria. The commonest reasons for ineligibility were the use of an excluded concurrent drug (45, 36%), brain metastases (22, 18%), poor performance status (21, 17%) and current chemotherapy (15, 12%). A phase III trial of clarithromycin using these entry criteria is not feasible in this setting. Other macrolides that have a lower risk of a drug–drug interaction may be more practical to pursue.


Awan, S., Crosby, V., Potter, V., Hennig, I., Baldwin, D., Ndlovu, M., …Wilcock, A. (2017). Is clarithromycin a potential treatment for cachexia in people with lung cancer?: a feasibility study. Lung Cancer, 104,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 18, 2016
Online Publication Date Dec 21, 2016
Publication Date Feb 1, 2017
Deposit Date Nov 20, 2017
Publicly Available Date Nov 20, 2017
Journal Lung Cancer
Print ISSN 0169-5002
Electronic ISSN 0169-5002
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 104
Keywords Cachexia; Clarithromycin; Macrolide antibiotics; Non-small cell lung cancer
Public URL
Publisher URL


clarithromycin for cachexia short communication V11_160910_aw.pdf (271 Kb)

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