Research Papers:

Practice of traditional Chinese medicine for psycho-behavioral intervention improves quality of life in cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Weiwei Tao _, Xi Luo, Bai Cui, Dapeng Liang, Chunli Wang, Yangyang Duan, Xiaofen Li, Shiyu Zhou, Mingjie Zhao, Yi Li, Yumin He, Shaowu Wang, Keith W. Kelley, Ping Jiang and Quentin Liu

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:39725-39739. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5388

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Weiwei Tao1,2,3,#, Xi Luo1,2,#, Bai Cui1,2,#, Dapeng Liang1,2, Chunli Wang1,2, Yangyang Duan4, Xiaofen Li5, Shiyu Zhou6, Mingjie Zhao7, Yi Li8, Yumin He9, Shaowu Wang4, Keith W. Kelley10,11, Ping Jiang12, Quentin Liu1,2

1Institute of Cancer Stem Cell, Cancer Center, Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China

2Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center of Cancer Medicine, Guangdong, China

3College of Nursing, Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China

4Department of Radiology, Second Affiliated Hospital, Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China

5School of Public Health, Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China

6Department of Psychology, Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China

7Dalian Medical University Magazine, Dalian, China

8School of Art, Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China

9Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China

10Integrative Immunology and Behavior Program, Department of Animal Sciences, College of ACES, Urbana, IL, USA

11Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

12Graduate School, Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China

#These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Quentin Liu, e-mail: [email protected]

Ping Jiang, e-mail: [email protected]

Keith W. Kelley, e-mail: [email protected]

Shaowu Wang, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: traditional Chinese medicine, psycho-behavioral interventions, quality of life, cancer, meta-analysis

Received: July 15, 2015     Accepted: October 02, 2015     Published: October 15, 2015


Background: Cancer patients suffer from diverse symptoms, including depression, anxiety, pain, and fatigue and lower quality of life (QoL) during disease progression. This study aimed to evaluate the benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine psycho-behavioral interventions (TCM PBIs) on improving QoL by meta-analysis.

Methods: Electronic literature databases (PubMed, CNKI, VIP, and Wanfang) were searched for randomized, controlled trials conducted in China. The primary intervention was TCM PBIs. The main outcome was health-related QoL (HR QoL) post-treatment. We applied standard meta analytic techniques to analyze data from papers that reached acceptable criteria.

Results: The six TCM PBIs analyzed were acupuncture, Chinese massage, Traditional Chinese Medicine five elements musical intervention (TCM FEMI), Traditional Chinese Medicine dietary supplement (TCM DS), Qigong and Tai Chi. Although both TCM PBIs and non-TCM PBIs reduced functional impairments in cancer patients and led to pain relief, depression remission, reduced time to flatulence following surgery and sleep improvement, TCM PBIs showed more beneficial effects as assessed by reducing both fatigue and gastrointestinal distress. In particular, acupuncture relieved fatigue, reduced diarrhea and decreased time to flatulence after surgery in cancer patients, while therapeutic Chinese massage reduced time to flatulence and time to peristaltic sound.

Conclusion: These findings demonstrate the efficacy of TCM PBIs in improving QoL in cancer patients and establish that TCM PBIs represent beneficial adjunctive therapies for cancer patients.

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