05/22/2019 04:15:42 pm
Chinese Herbal Medicine May Increase Effectiveness of Lung Cancer Chemotherapy
By: Cancer Consultants - Press Release
A combined analysis of 34 studies suggests that Astragalus-based Chinese herbal medicine may increase the effectiveness of platinum-based chemotherapy regimens for advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). (However, because the quality of several of the evaluated studies was poor, these findings need to be confirmed in well-designed clinical trials.) These results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and Europe. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for approximately 75%–80% of all lung cancers.
Advanced NSCLC refers to cancer that has spread from its site of origin to distant and/or several sites in the body. Chemotherapy regimens that include a platinum-based drug such as carboplatin are often used in the treatment of advanced NSCLC, but frequently cause significant side effects. Furthermore, even with treatment, survival among patients with advanced NSCLC continues to be poor. Researchers therefore continue to evaluate new treatments and new combinations of treatments.
In China, the herb Astragalus membranaceus is frequently combined with chemotherapy in the treatment of lung cancer. It is thought that Astragalus may play a role in stimulating the immune system.
To summarize what is known about the combination of Astragalus-based Chinese medicine and standard platinum-based chemotherapy for NSCLC, researchers combined information from 34 published clinical trials. These trials enrolled a total of 2815 patients. The researchers assessed whether Astragalus-based herbal medicine increased the effectiveness and decreased the toxicity of standard platinum-based chemotherapy.
The researchers conclude that "Astragalus-based Chinese herbal medicine may increase effectiveness (by improving survival, tumor response, and performance status) and reduce toxicity of standard platinum-based chemotherapy for advanced non-small-cell lung cancer." They also note, however, that "confirmation of these conclusions in rigorously controlled, randomized trials is required before more firm conclusions about this therapy can be drawn."
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05/22/2019 04:15:42 pm