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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 168940, 13 pages
Review Article

Ginseng and Anticancer Drug Combination to Improve Cancer Chemotherapy: A Critical Review

1Department of Pharmacy, Xiamen Medical College, Xiamen, Fujian 361008, China
2Center for Advancement of Drug Research and Evaluation, College of Pharmacy, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA 91766, USA
3Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA 91766, USA

Received 16 December 2013; Revised 17 March 2014; Accepted 20 March 2014; Published 30 April 2014

Academic Editor: Zhong Zuo

Copyright © 2014 Shihong Chen 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.


Ginseng, a well-known herb, is often used in combination with anticancer drugs to enhance chemotherapy. Its wide usage as well as many documentations are often cited to support its clinical benefit of such combination therapy. However the literature based on objective evidence to make such recommendation is still lacking. The present review critically evaluated relevant studies reported in English and Chinese literature on such combination. Based on our review, we found good evidence from in vitro and in vivo animal studies showing enhanced antitumor effect when ginseng is used in combination with some anticancer drugs. However, there is insufficient clinical evidence of such benefit as very few clinical studies are available. Future research should focus on clinically relevant studies of such combination to validate the utility of ginseng in cancer.