Beating cancer-related fatigue with the Untire mobile app: Results from a waiting-list randomized controlled trial

Simon Sebastian Spahrkäs*, Anne Looijmans, Robbert Sanderman, Mariët Hagedoorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
84 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: This waiting-list randomized controlled trial examined the effectiveness of a self-management mHealth app in improving fatigue and quality of life (QoL) in cancer patients and survivors. Methods: Persons with cancer-related fatigue (CRF) were recruited across four English speaking countries, via social media, and randomized into intervention (n = 519) and control (n = 280) groups. Whereas the intervention group received immediate access to the Untire app, the control group received access only after 12-weeks. Primary outcomes fatigue severity and interference, and secondary outcome QoL were assessed at baseline, 4, 8, and 12-weeks. We ran generalized linear mixed models for all outcomes to determine the effects of app access (yes/no), over 12-weeks, following the intention-to-treat principle. Results: Compared with the control group, the intervention group showed significantly larger improvements in fatigue severity (d = 0.40), fatigue interference (d = 0.35), and overall QoL on average (d = 0.32) (P's <.01), but not for overall QoL in the past week (P =.07). Sensitivity analyses indicated that participants with medium or high app use benefited most when compared with nonusers and control participants (P's ≤.02). The intervention effect on fatigue interference was slightly stronger in younger participants (≤56 vs. >56). Effects did not depend on education and cancer status. Reliable change analyses indicated that significantly more people showed full recovery for fatigue in the intervention vs the control group (P's =.02). Conclusions: The Untire app can be an effective mHealth solution for cancer patients and survivors with moderate to severe CRF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1823-1834
Number of pages12
Issue number11
Early online date20 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • app
  • cancer
  • cancer survivors
  • fatigue
  • mHealth
  • oncology
  • palliative care
  • psycho-oncology
  • quality of life
  • RCT
  • self-management


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