To provide an overview and evaluate the evidence of biologically based CAM-practices for cancer patients.
Pubmed, Social Science Citation Index, AMED and the Cochrane library were systematically searched for reviews on effects of biologically based CAM-practices, including herbal remedies, vitamins and other dietary supplements, for cancer or cancer related symptoms published 2000-2008. All studies were assessed according to the SIGN hierarchy of evidence.
A total of 78 reviews/meta-analyses were identified. Of these, 32 were evaluated as high-quality, whereas 46 had low levels of evidence and were excluded from further evaluation.
Among the 32 high-quality reviews the most reviewed practices were soy/plant hormones (7), Chinese herbal medicine (7), antioxidants (5) and mistletoe (4). Fifteen of the 32 reviews included data on the efficacy of biologically-based CAM-practices against cancer, but none of the reviews concluded a positive effect on the cancer. Reviews including data on quality of life (10) and/or reduction of side effects (12) showed promising, but yet insufficient evidence for Chinese herbal medicine against pain and side effects of chemotherapy, and mistletoe for the improvement of quality of life.
Breast cancer was the most common single type of cancer reviewed (8 reviews), all focused on the relief of side effects, primarily by supplements containing soy/plant hormones. The use of these supplements should be discouraged due to a risk for progression of breast cancer or interference with treatment.
Thirty-two reviews provided reliable information on the evidence for biologically based CAM-practices for cancer or cancer related symptoms. None of the reviews concluded a positive effect on the cancer, despite the widespread use of these CAM-practices among cancer patients. There is a need for future studies on specific type of practices in relation to side effects and quality of life parameters.
-Systematic reviews, meta analysis
The research was funded by The Danish Cancer Society and the University of Southern Denmark.
|Title of host publication||ICCMR 2010. 5th International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research. Abstract book|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|
|Event||ICCMR 2010. 5th International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research. - Tromsø, Norway|
Duration: 19. May 2010 → 21. May 2010
|Conference||ICCMR 2010. 5th International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research.|
|Period||19/05/2010 → 21/05/2010|
- Complementary Therapies
- Biologically based therapies