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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 7 (2010), Issue 2, Pages 157-166
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nen025
Review

Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis of Survival and Psychosomatic Self-Regulation from Published Prospective Controlled Cohort Studies for Long-Term Therapy of Breast Cancer Patients with a Mistletoe Preparation (Iscador)

1Verein für Krebsforschung, Institut Hiscia, Arlesheim, Switzerland
2Institute of Preventive Medicine, European Centre for Peace and Development (ECPD), Heidelberg, Germany

Received 10 January 2007; Accepted 13 March 2008

Copyright © 2010 R. Ziegler and Ronald Grossarth-Maticek. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Mistletoe preparations such as Iscador are in common use as complementary/anthroposophic medications for many cancer indications, particularly for solid cancers. The efficacy is still discussed controversially. This paper presents an individual patient data meta-analysis of all published prospective matched-pair studies with breast cancer patients concerned with long-term application of a complementary/anthroposophic therapy with the mistletoe preparation Iscador. Six sets of data were available for individual patient meta-analysis of breast cancer patients, matched according to prognostic factors into pairs with and without mistletoe (Iscador) therapy. The main outcome measures were overall survival and psychosomatic self-regulation. Overall survival was almost significant in favor of the Iscador group in the combined data set of the randomized studies: estimate of the hazard ratio with 95% confidence interval 0.59 (0.34, 1.02). Overall survival was highly significant in the combined data set of the non-randomized studies: 0.43 (0.34, 0.56). In the combined analysis of the randomized studies, improvement of psychosomatic self-regulation, as a measure of autonomous coping with the disease, was highly significant in favor of the Iscador group: estimate of the median difference 0.45 (0.15, 0.80), P = 0.0051. The analyzed studies show that therapy with Iscador might prolong overall survival and improve psychosomatic self-regulation of breast cancer patients.