An Exploratory Analysis of the Association Between Catechol-O-Methyltransferase and Response to a Randomized Open-Label Placebo Treatment for Cancer-Related Fatigue

Academic Article


  • Previous studies have identified catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), as a key enzyme influencing sympathetic function. Although the COMT SNP rs4680 and rs4818, are well-studied, little is known about their influence on cancer-related fatigue (CrF) and placebo response. In this study, we examined whether genetic variation in COMT, at the functional SNP rs4680 and linked rs4818, influenced open-label placebo (OLP) responses found in cancer survivors reporting moderate to severe CrF. We randomized cancer survivors (N = 74) reporting moderate-to-severe CrF to receive OLP or to treatment-as-usual (TAU) and assessed if rs4680 and rs4818 were associated with changes in fatigue severity and fatigue-distressed quality of life. At the end of the initial 21 days, the treatments were crossed over and both groups were re-assessed. Participants with the rs4680 high-activity G-allele (G/G or G/A) or rs4818 C/G genotypes reported significant decreases in fatigue severity and improvements in fatigue-distressed quality of life. The COMT rs4818 findings replicated findings in a similar study of OLP in cancer fatigue. Clinical Trial Registration:, identifier: NCT02522988.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 27935560
  • Author List

  • Hoenemeyer TW; Baidwan NK; Hall K; Kaptchuk TJ; Fontaine KR; Mehta TS
  • Volume

  • 12