Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Eur J Med Res. 2007 Mar 26;12(3):103-19.

Complementary cancer therapy: a systematic review of prospective clinical trials on anthroposophic mistletoe extracts.

Author information

  • 1Institute for Applied Epistemology and Medical Methodology, Bad Krozingen, Germany. gunver.kienle@ifaemm.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Anthroposophic Mistletoe therapy is a widely used complementary cancer treatment.

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate prospective clinical trials on the effectiveness of anthroposophic mistletoe therapy for cancer.

DESIGN:

Systematic review.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:

Search of 9 electronic databases, reference lists and extensive expert consultations. Criteria-based assessment of methodological study quality.

RESULTS:

16 randomized (RCT) and 9 non-randomized (N-RCT) controlled trials were identified that investigated mistletoe treatment of malignant diseases. Statistically significant benefit for survival was reported in 8 of 17 trials (in 5 of 10 RCTs), for disease-free survival and tumour recurrence in none of 2 RCTs, for remission of tumour and malignant effusion in 1 RCT and 1 N-RCT of 4 controlled trials, for quality of life (QoL) in 3 of 5 RCTs, and for QoL and reduction of side effects of cytoreductive therapies (chemotherapy, radiation or surgery) in 5 of 7 trials (3 of 5 RCTs). Methodological quality of the controlled trials differed substantially; some had major limitations while others were reasonably well conducted. 12 single-arm cohort studies were identified. 5 of 7 studies found substantial tumour remission in various cancers, one study reported remission of CIN, and 4 studies remission of malignant pleural effusion or ascites. Quality of reporting in cohort studies was mostly reasonably good. Mistletoe application was well tolerated.

CONCLUSIONS:

Regarding quality of studies and consistency of results, the best evidence for efficacy of mistletoe therapy exists for improvement of QoL and reduction of side effects of cytotoxic therapies (chemotherapy, radiation). Survival benefit has been shown but not beyond critique. Tumour remissions are described in cohort studies that investigate the application of high dose or local mistletoe extracts. As several reasonably well-conducted studies indicate beneficial effects, further properly designed trials should be encouraged to investigate clinical efficacy and its possible dependency on the mode of application.

PMID:
17507307
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk