Traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of breast cancer

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Abstract

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is becoming increasingly popular in many medical contexts, particularly among patients with cancer. TCM encompasses a range of modalities including herbal medicine, acupuncture, medical qigong, dietary recommendations and meditation (daoyin). In contrast to standard chemotherapeutic and hormonal regimens used for the adjuvant treatment of early stage breast cancer, very little data from controlled clinical trials has been generated using TCM modalities in relationship to the outcomes of recurrence or survival, or even overall quality of life and safety. As we previously reported1, the objectives of TCM modalities are manifold - the reduction of therapeutic toxicity, improvement in cancer-related symptoms, improvements in the immune system, and even a direct anti-cancer effect. The primary basis of TCM rests upon empirical evidence and case studies, as well as its theoretical principles. In some cases, laboratory or clinical data lend support to these modalities. Although TCM practices are based on ancient medical tenets founded on centuries of experience, and documented through oral and written texts, its direct relationship to breast cancer treatment in an integrative setting is very young. There is still a paucity of evidence in the clinical setting, which limits firm conclusions about the effectiveness or safety of most TCM approaches to breast cancer. This review will summarise the application of certain TCM modalities in the context of chemotherapy, enhancing immune function, and treating hematopoesis and peripheral neuropathy.

Author-supplied keywords

  • *Chinese drug/an [Drug Analysis]
  • *Chinese drug/dt [Drug Therapy]
  • *Chinese drug/pd [Pharmacology]
  • *Chinese medicine
  • *breast cancer/dt [Drug Therapy]
  • *breast cancer/th [Therapy]
  • *herbaceous agent/an [Drug Analysis]
  • *herbaceous agent/dt [Drug Therapy]
  • *herbaceous agent/pd [Pharmacology]
  • Evodia fruit/pd [Pharmacology]
  • Huang Qi/pd [Pharmacology]
  • Rehmannia glutinosa extract/pd [Pharmacology]
  • Salvia miltiorrhiza extract/pd [Pharmacology]
  • acupuncture
  • antineoplastic activity
  • article
  • bai zhu/pd [Pharmacology]
  • ban xia
  • bei sha shen
  • bone marrow toxicity/si [Side Effect]
  • cancer chemotherapy
  • cancer hormone therapy
  • cancer patient
  • cancer recurrence
  • cancer survival
  • controlled study
  • cyclophosphamide/ae [Adverse Drug Reaction]
  • cyclophosphamide/cb [Drug Combination]
  • cyclophosphamide/dt [Drug Therapy]
  • diet
  • docetaxel/cb [Drug Combination]
  • docetaxel/dt [Drug Therapy]
  • doxorubicin/ae [Adverse Drug Reaction]
  • doxorubicin/cb [Drug Combination]
  • doxorubicin/dt [Drug Therapy]
  • early cancer
  • fluorouracil/cb [Drug Combination]
  • fluorouracil/dt [Drug Therapy]
  • fu ling/pd [Pharmacology]
  • gou qi zi/pd [Pharmacology]
  • he shou wou
  • hematopoiesis
  • herbal medicine
  • huang jing
  • human
  • immune system
  • ji xue teng
  • mai men dong
  • meditation
  • methotrexate/cb [Drug Combination]
  • methotrexate/dt [Drug Therapy]
  • nu zhen zi/pd [Pharmacology]
  • paclitaxel/cb [Drug Combination]
  • paclitaxel/dt [Drug Therapy]
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • qian shi
  • quality of life
  • sheng jiang
  • shi di
  • tian men dong/pd [Pharmacology]
  • treatment outcome
  • unclassified drug
  • unindexed drug
  • xi yang shen/pd [Pharmacology]
  • yu jin
  • ze xie

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Authors

  • Cohen I.

  • Tagliaferri M.

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