Traditional Chinese Medicine Significantly Improves Quality of Life in Lung Cancer Patients

Traditional herbal medicine as an adjuvant treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis


Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is one of the most common cancers and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. In East Asia, traditional herbal medicine (THM) is commonly used in clinical settings for the treatment of cancer. Therefore, the aim of the present review was to systematically assess the efficacy of THM with varied components for the treatment of NSCLC.

This study identified randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated the effectiveness of combined THM and chemotherapy (CTx) in searches of English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language databases.

This meta-analysis systematically reviewed 27 RCTs involving 2382 patients and found that THM improved the quality of life (QoL) significantly for patients with NSCLC. Improvement in QoL was seen in 19 studies using the Karnofsky Performance Status score, three studies using the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group scale, three studies using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Lung scale, and six studies using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer.

The pooled results of this systematic review and meta-analysis suggest that THM significantly improved the QoL for patients with NSCLC.


There is extensive evidence that Traditional Chinese Herbs not only reduces side effects of Chemotherapy but they enhance the chemo agent effects by regulating cell multi-drug resistance factors. TCM herbs also reduce the side effects of radiotherapy helping relieve exhaustion, pain and digestive problems as well as improve recovery.

In China more than 90% of breast Cancer patients choose to use TCM as an adjunct and their QoL outcomes are significantly better than those who choose only conventional treatment. Unfortunately here in Australia and Western civilisation the use of TCM in cancer treatment protocols is much less common, but it is I believe it is slowly changing due to  studies like this that help to convince Oncologists and patients that Chinese Herbs are safe and useful in oncology clinic.


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