A randomized trial investigating fucoidan in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) receiving concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) before surgery demonstrated QOL benefits of this long-chain sulphated polysaccharide.

Prof. Jaw-Yuan Wang (Pingtung Hospital, Taiwan) and colleagues randomized 87 patients with LARC receiving CCRT prior to surgery 1:1 to low molecular-weight fucoidan (LMF) or placebo.1 QOL was the primary outcome of the trial, which was assessed by comparing the FACT-C health-related QOL mean scores of the two study groups.

Patients in the fucoidan group displayed a significantly higher score on the ‘physical well-being’ item of the questionnaire than patients in the placebo group (mean, 23.27 vs 21.12; P=0.006). Furthermore, those who were exposed to fucoidan had an improved score on the ‘colorectal cancer subscale’ (mean, 18.70 vs 16.53; P=0.034). Rash or itching of the skin was less common in the fucoidan arm than in the placebo arm (0% vs 9.3%; P=0.038). Likewise, fatigue was less frequently reported in the experimental arm (75.0% vs 95.3%; P=0.008). Prof. Wang added that fucoidan was associated with an increase of the parabacteroides genus.

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