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Support Care Cancer. 2018 Feb;26(2):375-391. doi: 10.1007/s00520-017-3908-0. Epub 2017 Oct 13.

A systematic review of integrative clinical trials for supportive care in pediatric oncology: a report from the International Society of Pediatric Oncology, T&CM collaborative.

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Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant, Columbia University Medical Center, 161 Fort Washington Avenue, New York, NY, 10032, USA.
Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4K1, Canada.
Department of Child Health and Pediatrics, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya.
Banso Baptist Hospital, PO Box 9, Nso Bui Division, Kumbo, Cameroon.
Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplant, Columbia University Medical Center, 3959 Broadway, CHN 10-06A, New York, NY, 10032, USA.



Traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) use in children with cancer is well established among high-income, upper middle-income, low-middle-income, and low-income countries (HIC, UMIC, LMIC, LIC, respectively). In HIC, a developing body of evidence exists for several T&CM therapies; however, evidence in other income settings is less well described despite a significantly higher use when compared to reports from HIC. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the evidence for T&CM for a variety of supportive care indications among children with cancer.


We performed a systematic review following the PRISMA guidelines of randomized, controlled clinical trials from inception through September 2016. Our eligibility criteria were limited to T&CM studies performed in children and adolescents undergoing treatment for a pediatric malignancy.


Of 6342 studies identified, 44 met inclusion criteria. Two clinical trials reported on acupuncture, 1 reported on aromatherapy, 9 evaluated massage therapy, and 32 reported on dietary supplements. Twenty-two studies were performed in HIC, 15 in UMIC, and 7 in LMIC. T&CM therapies were most commonly investigated for the prevention or management of mucositis, weight loss, and febrile neutropenia. Encouraging results were reported for select interventions; however, the majority of studies were classified as poor to fair quality.


Our search revealed numerous clinical studies investigating the use of T&CM for supportive care purposes in pediatric oncology in HIC, UMIC, and LMIC. Although limited, these results could inform supportive care resource allocation and indicate where T&CM may serve to fill gaps where access to care may be limited.


Integrative medicine; Pediatric oncology; Supportive care; Symptom management; Traditional and complementary medicine

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