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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 751046, 8 pages
Review Article

Traditional Chinese Medicine in Cancer Care: A Review of Case Series Published in the Chinese Literature

1Centre for Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China
2School of Humanities, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China
3School of Preclinical Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China
4School of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China
5National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NAFKAM), University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway

Received 5 November 2011; Accepted 5 April 2012

Academic Editor: Alyson Huntley

Copyright © 2012 Guoyan Yang et al. 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.


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been widely used in cancer in China. Case series report a series of cases exposed to a certain intervention. To understand the current situation of case series of TCM for cancer, we performed this review. We included case series of cancer patients treated with TCM therapy. Electronic searches were conducted in four main Chinese databases until February 2011. A total of 1,217 reports of case series (92,945 patients) were included. The top five types of cancer were lung cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, leukemia, and esophageal cancer. Leukopenia and hiccup treated by TCM were the most common adverse reactions after surgery or induced by chemo/radiotherapy. More than half of the patients were treated with TCM therapies alone. The application of herbal medicines especially formula based on syndrome differentiation was highly prevalent, and the typical administration route was oral usage. 1,182 reports were published in a structured format. The quantity of TCM case series for cancer treatment is substantial. Further studies should focus on the most common types of cancer and the most frequently applied TCM therapies. We presented a recommendation from the methodological point of view for the format of reporting.