Multiple Myeloma Coverage from Every Angle

Chinese Herbal Medicine: Potential Benefits for Patients With Multiple Myeloma?

By: Joseph Fanelli
Posted: Monday, September 28, 2020

According to a retrospective matched-cohort study presented in Integrative Cancer Therapies, Chinese herbal medicine may improve outcomes for patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma when combined with standard treatment. However, Hung-Rong Yen, MD, PhD, of China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, and colleagues cautioned that their results may not be attributed to Chinese Herbal medicine alone.

"[Whether] a synergistic effect or to an unrelated relieving of complications, this study nevertheless provides important ideas for more comprehensive investigations in the future," the authors concluded.

The authors performed a 1:1 propensity score–matched cohort study of patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma between 2002 and 2012 through the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database. The authors highlighted 156 patients who received Chinese herbal medicine therapy from initial diagnosis and 156 patients who did not. The three most frequently prescribed herbal formulae and single herbs were the dry roots of Trichosanthes kirilowii Maxim, the rhubarb Rheum officinale Baill, and the perennial plant Curcuma kwangsiensis.

Patients who were treated with Chinese herbal medicine appeared to have a better survival status than those who did not. Of the two cohorts, 49 patients treated with Chinese herbal medicine died, compared with 96 who were not treated (adjusted hazard ratio = 0.35). The authors noted that the effect of survival improvement from Chinese herbal medicine could be observed when prescriptions had a duration of 30 days or more.

"Our results showed that the benefit of Chinese herbal medicine intervention was independent of sex, age, comorbidities, and standard Western medical treatment, such as bortezomib or hematopoietic stem cell transplant," the authors noted.

Disclosure: The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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