Background. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) remains as a big unsolved challenge for cancer patients and oncologists. However, there is no effective treatment to prevent and cure it. This systematic review and meta-analysis chiefly aimed to assess the effectiveness and safety on the method of activating blood and dredging collaterals in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for reducing CIPN.
Methods. Two authors comprehensively searched all the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) via PubMed, Cochrane, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and Wanfang Database of China Science Periodical Database (CSPD). The Review Manager (RevMan) 5.0 was used to conduct the meta-analysis.
Results. 20 trials including 1481 participants were analyzed. 15 trials tested the incidence of all-grade CIPN which was significantly lower in intervention arm and 16 trails presented that the result of high-grade CIPN was the same. The total effective rate of the use of Chinese herbs was 77.19% versus 45.79% in the comparator group. Besides, the use of Chinese herbs statistically promoted the sensory nerve conduction velocity (SNCV) and the motor nerve conduction velocity (MNCV). Besides, the quality of life (QoL) in the intervention group was better than the comparator one. Herbs-related adverse events were skin allergy, skin chap, and scald, which could be managed well.
Conclusions. The work involving studies of the effectiveness and safety on TCM for reducing CIPN proves to be encouraging. Herbs with the function of activating blood and dredging collaterals were found to potentially promote the curative effects as well as making improvements of SNCV and MNCV. However, in the future, more double-blind, multicenter, large-scale RCTs and more comprehensive researches are still required.
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