In continental Europe, at least 30 different mistletoe preparations are available.
In Europe, the annual cost of this mistletoe treatment is about Â£30m (E45m; $59m).
In Germany, the insurance system pays for this treatment.
More than 140,000 websites promote or mention mistletoe as a treatment for cancer.
Yet, there are few clinical trials on its use.
One recently published study in women with breast cancer (some treated with mistletoe, other not) reported a “clinically relevant” effect on breast tumor progression as measured by overall survival and time to recurrences.
Overall, the evidence supporting the use of mistletoe is weak. A review of the mistletoe literature several years ago found that most studies were not well designed.
And while some weaker studies implied benefits, particularly in quality of life, well-designed studies of mistletoe extracts failed to demonstrate benefits from this therapy.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
12/21/06 21:57 JR
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.