An Overview of 5834 Randomized Controlled Trials Published in Chinese
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is widely integrated into cancer care in China. An overview in 2011 identified 2384 randomized and non-randomized controlled trials (RCTs, non-RCTs) on TCM for cancer published in the Chinese literature. This article summarizes updated evidence of RCTs on TCM for cancer care.
We searched 4 main Chinese databases: China National Knowledge Infrastructure, Chinese Scientific Journal Database, SinoMed, and Wanfang. RCTs on TCM used in cancer care were analyzed in this bibliometric study.
Of 5834 RCTs (477 157 cancer patients), only 62 RCTs were indexed in MEDLINE. The top 3 cancers treated were lung, stomach, and breast cancer. About 4752 RCTs (81.45%) tested TCM combined with conventional treatment, and 1082 RCTs (18.55%) used TCM alone for treating symptoms and side-effects. Herbal medicine was the most frequently used TCM modality (5087 RCTs; 87.20%). The most frequently reported outcome was symptom improvement (3712 RCTs; 63.63%) followed by quality of life (2725 RCTs; 46.71%), and biomarkers (2384 RCTs; 40.86%). The majority of RCTs (4051; 69.44%) concluded there were beneficial effects using either TCM alone or TCM plus conventional treatment compared with conventional treatment.
Substantial randomized trials demonstrated different types/stages of cancer were treated by various TCM modalities, alone or in combination with conventional medicine. Further evaluation on the effects and safety of TCM modalities focusing on outcomes such as quality of life is required.
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