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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 350730, 15 pages
Review Article

Chinese Herbal Medicines as an Adjunctive Therapy for Unresectable Pancreatic Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

1Department of Pharmacy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People’s Hospital, Shanghai 200233, China
2Department of Integrative Oncology, Benxi Central Hospital of China Medical University, Benxi, Liaoning 11700, China
3Postgraduate School, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China

Received 6 June 2015; Revised 3 October 2015; Accepted 13 October 2015

Academic Editor: Zhao-Xiang Bian

Copyright © 2015 Bin Li 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.


Pancreatic cancer is a common malignancy with a high mortality. Most patients present clinically with advanced pancreatic cancer. Moreover, the effect of radiotherapy or chemotherapy is limited. Complementary and alternative medicines represent exciting adjunctive therapies. In this study, we ascertained the beneficial and adverse effects of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) in combination with conventional therapy for inoperable pancreatic cancer by using meta-analysis methods for controlled clinical trials. We extracted data for studies searched from six electronic databases that were searched and also assessed the methodological quality of the included studies. We evaluated the following outcome measures: 6-month and 1-year survival rate, objective response rate, disease control rate, quality of life, and adverse effects. The final analysis showed CHM is a promising strategy as an adjunctive therapy to treat advanced or inoperable pancreatic cancer and that CHM in combination with conventional therapy is a promising strategy for resistant disease. However, convincing evidence must be obtained and confirmed by high-quality trials in future studies.