The LITE study: Rationale and protocol for a randomized controlled trial of light therapy for cancer-related fatigue in cancer survivors

Jillian A. Johnson, Sheila N. Garland, Linda E. Carlson, Josée Savard, J. Steven A. Simpson, Sonia Ancoli-Israel, Tavis S. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Fatigue is a common and distressing symptom that can last for months or years in up to one-third of cancer survivors. Despite its prevalence, the nature and mechanisms of cancer-related fatigue are poorly understood and the available treatments may not provide sufficient relief. Fatigue has been identified as a significant contributor to decreased quality of life, making it an important target for intervention. One approach that may be a safe and inexpensive treatment is bright light therapy. Methods This study is a 4-week blinded randomized controlled trial. Subjects will be men and women who meet criteria for cancer-related fatigue and have completed cancer treatment. Subjects will be randomly assigned to receive a Litebook treatment device that produces either bright white light (treatment) or dim red light (active control). The devices will be used daily for 30 min upon waking for a period of four weeks. The primary outcome, fatigue, will be measured with the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory-SF. Secondary outcomes include mood disturbance, sleep quality, quality of life, diurnal cortisol, and inflammatory biomarkers. Fatigue assessments will be completed weekly and secondary outcomes will be assessed at pre- and post-intervention. Conclusions The current research will examine the effect of light exposure on cancer-related fatigue and its potential psychological, behavioral, and biological mechanisms. If successful, this research would support the use of light therapy for the management of persistent fatigue in cancer survivors, expanding existing treatment options. It may also improve upon the current understanding of the mechanisms that underlie cancer-related fatigue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-173
Number of pages8
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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