Survival in cancer patients receiving Kampo therapy

Researchers from The University of Tokushima in Japan initially used Kampo to reduce the side effects and improve the quality of life of patients with uterine cervical cancer being treated with radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Later, an analysis of patients treated between 1978 and 1998 showed that Kampo was associated with prolongation of life compared to patients with uterine cervical cancer who did not receive Kampo. The results from patients with stage II cancer showed 5, 10, and 15 years survival rate of 79%, 62% and 43% with Kampo and 67%, 43% and 23% without Kampo — statistically significant differences. The survival differences for state III and IV disease were also significant.

The bottom line?
The authors tell us, “In Japan, various forms of chemotherapy have been tested in conjunction with radiotherapy with the objective of prolonging survival in patients with advanced cervical cancer. However, although these methods increase the local success rate of cancer treatment, they do little to prolong survival, and their use is reportedly accompanied by a higher incidence of side effects.”

In this study, multivariate analysis (a statistical technique where multiple variables are analyzed separately to determine the contribution of each on an observed result) showed that concomitant chemotherapy was not a significant prognostic indicator of prolonged survival.

Only stage and concomitant Kampo therapy emerged as a significant prognostic indicator.

The authors “intend to perform further research with more patients to explore how this therapy contributes to the prolonging of patients survival.”

5/25/08 23:25

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.