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Results summary of St. Jude clinical trial: 



Light Therapy to Increase Energy in Adolescents and Young Adults Newly Diagnosed with Solid Tumors: A Pilot Study (LITE)

Why was this study done?

Fatigue means that you are very tired, exhausted, or weary. Many adolescents and young adults with cancer say fatigue is one of the most common and upsetting symptoms of treatment. Some data suggest that using light therapy can help reduce cancer-related fatigue. We wanted to know if this group of patients would be likely to use light therapy. We also wanted to know if a certain type of light therapy was more effective than another.

In this study we compared the use of bright white light and dim red light on adolescents and young adults with cancer.              

The study’s main goals were to:

  • Find out how many patients would agree to be in the study
  • See how long the patients would use the light therapy
  • Find out if the light affected fatigue rates
  • See how often side effects occur

When was this study done?

The study opened in July 2015 and closed in October 2018.

What did the study consist of?

Patients answered questions about fatigue, quality of life, depression, and side effects. Then a computer assigned each patient to one of two groups. One group used a bright white light. The other group used a dim red light.

Patients used the light therapy for 30 minutes every day for 60 days. They used the device just after waking up. They also answered more questions throughout the study.

What did we learn from this study?

Most patients who were asked to be in the study agreed to do so. Fatigue levels improved for those who used bright white light each day. Fatigue levels did not improve in patients who used dim red light. Neither therapy had negative side effects. 

What are the next research steps as a result of this study?

More study is needed to figure out how much this treatment reduces fatigue in these patients.

How does this study affect my child?

Every childhood cancer survivor should receive long-term follow-up care. Through the St. Jude After Completion of Care clinic, your child will receive information and guidance for care after treatment. Please speak with your St. Jude doctor about specific guidelines that apply to your child.

For more information

Please talk with your child’s St. Jude doctor about questions or concerns you have as a result of this study. 

Publication generated from this study:

Feasibility and Acceptability of Light Therapy to Reduce Fatigue in Adolescents and Young Adults Receiving Cancer-directed Therapy. Crabtree VM, LaRosa KN, MacArthur E, Russell K, Wang F, Zhang H, Pan H, Brigden J, Schwartz LE, Wilson M, Pappo A. Behav Sleep Med. 2020 Aug 4:1-13.