Persistent Fatigue in Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma Receiving Radiotherapy

Chiao Yi Chen, Bing Shen Huang, Ji-Hong Hong, Joseph Tung-Chieh Chang, Min Chi Chen, Woung Ru Tang, Shiow Ching Shun, Mei Ling Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review


Background Radiation therapy has attracted much attention in the treatment of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, the association between radiotherapy-related fatigue and HCC has been examined in only a few studies. Purpose This study was designed to explore the change over time in fatigue in patients with HCC treated with radiotherapy and related factors. Methods One hundred patients were enrolled in this prospective longitudinal study using convenience sampling at a medical center in northern Taiwan. The Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue scale, the Brief Pain Inventory-Short Form, and the psychological subscale of Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale-Short Form were used to assess the symptoms at five time points: before radiotherapy (T0), during treatment (T1), and at 1 month (T2), 3 months (T3), and 6 months (T4) after radiotherapy. The generalized estimating equations method was used to determine the changes in fatigue and the influencing factors. Results Fatigue levels at T1, T2, T3, and T4 were significantly higher than that at T0. Higher fatigue was significantly associated with lower income and poorer functional status. Having worse pain levels and psychological symptoms were both associated with higher fatigue. Conclusions/Implications for Practice The results indicate fatigue does not recover to the baseline (pretherapy) level by 6 months after radiotherapy. Thus, fatigue in patients with HCC receiving radiotherapy should be regularly and effectively assessed, and patients experiencing pain and psychological symptoms should be given greater attention from clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E319
JournalJournal of Nursing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 01 04 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2024 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.


  • fatigue
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • photon therapy
  • proton beam therapy
  • radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Fatigue/etiology
  • Pain
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms/complications
  • Longitudinal Studies


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