Objective: To assess the effectiveness and safety of traditional Chinese medical therapy for cancer-related fatigue.
Methods: We systematically searched eight electronic databases up to June 2017 for randomized clinical trials of traditional Chinese medical therapy for cancer-related fatigue. Two authors independently extracted data and assessed the risk bias of the included trials using the Cochrane Handbook. Data were analyzed by RevMan 5.2 software.
Results: A total of 23 trials involving 1832 participants identified with cancer-related fatigue were included. Twenty trials reported a beneficial effect of traditional Chinese medical therapy on cancer-related fatigue. On pooling the data from Chinese herbal medicine therapy and acupuncture or moxibustion therapy, respectively, significant differences were found between experimental groups and control groups. Fatigue improvement rates showed significant differences between traditional Chinese medical therapy and control groups [odds ratio (OR), 7.62; 95% confidence interval (CI), 3.75-15.49; P < 0.000 01; and OR, 3.78; 95% CI, 2.29-6.23; P < 0.000 01). Fatigue change scores also showed significant differences between the two groups (mean difference, -0.91; 95% CI, -0.16 to -0.65; P < 0.000 01). Eleven trials demonstrated that traditional Chinese medical therapy improved the quality of life of cancer patients. No severe adverse effects occurred in traditional Chinese medical therapy groups.
Conclusion: Meta-analysis showed that Chinese medical therapy seems to be effective and safe in the treatment of cancer-related fatigue.
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