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A study to providing a patient-oriented and effective program for early detection of fatigue.

Project coordination

Dr. Martina Schmidt, Prof. Dr. Karen Steindorf, Dr. Alexander Haussmann, Prof. Dr. Anne-Kathrin Berger


Cancer-related fatigue is a common and distressing sequela of cancer and cancer therapies. It is characterized by a persistent feeling of physical, emotional or mental tiredness or exhaustion. Fatigue often begins during cancer therapy and lasts for months or even years in some patients. Those affected report impairments on their quality of life and problems to function in their or professional lives. To date, there are neither clinical measurement methods nor blood tests to diagnose fatigue. This is one reason why fatigue is still underdiagnosed and mostly inadequately treated. International guidelines therefore recommend regular fatigue screenings in clinical practice, but to date it remains unclear how an effective and feasible screening program should be designed.

The MERLIN-study aims at providing an effective program for early detection of fatigue in clinical practice to improve the quality of life of many sufferers in the short and long term.

MERLIN is a longitudinal observational study including cancer patients (any cancer entity/stage) at the start of their systemic therapy or radiotherapy. Different screening questions, time points and cut-offs will be investigated as well as validated, multidimensional instruments. Possible moderating factors, such as age, gender or type of therapy will be considered. In addition, new insights into fatigue progression and associations with other factors such as sleep, pain, anxiety or depression will be investigated. The surveys are conducted exclusively online via smartphone, tablet or PC.

For interested patients

Participation in the study may also help you personally to detect fatigue at an early stage. At the same time, you will receive information and advice on how to deal with fatigue based on current scientific findings.

If you are interested in participating in the MERLIN study, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us via the following contact form:

Contact form

Current status

Recruitment has started in October 2022.


Patricia Blickle
Tel.: +49 6221 42 3506
E-Mail: Contact form


The study is funded by the NCT program "NCT Spenden gegen Krebs".

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