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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 278917, 9 pages
Review Article

The Possibility of Traditional Chinese Medicine as Maintenance Therapy for Advanced Nonsmall Cell Lung Cancer

Oncology Department, Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine Affiliated to Capital Medical University, 23 Meishuguanhou Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100010, China

Received 14 April 2014; Revised 11 July 2014; Accepted 16 July 2014; Published 4 August 2014

Academic Editor: Senthamil R. Selvan

Copyright © 2014 Weiru Xu 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.


Lung cancer has become the leading cause of cancer deaths, with nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounting for around 80% of lung cancer cases. Chemotherapy is the main conventional therapy for advanced NSCLC. However, the disease control achieved with classical chemotherapy in advanced NSCLC is usually restricted to only a few months. Thus, sustaining the therapeutic effect of first-line chemotherapy is an important problem that requires study. Maintenance therapy is given for patients with advanced NSCLC if three is no tumor progression after four to six cycles of first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. However, selection of appropriate maintenance therapy depends on several factors, while traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as maintenance therapy is recommended for all kinds of patients. It has been demonstrated that TCM can prolong the survival time, improve the quality of life (QOL), and reduce the side effects for advanced NSCLC. Although the trials we searched about TCM serving as maintenance therapy is only 9 studies, the results indicate TCM can prolong the progression free survival (PFS) and improve the QOL. So it is possible for TCM to be as maintenance therapy for advanced NSCLC. More rigorous trials are required to further verify its efficacy.