Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 8359251, 10 pages
Research Article

Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Xerostomia and Quality of Life during Radiotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer: A Prospective Pilot Study

1Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Division of Chinese Internal Medicine, Taoyuan Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan 33378, Taiwan
2School of Chinese Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan 33302, Taiwan
3Department of Radiation Oncology, Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan 33305, Taiwan
4Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taoyuan 33305, Taiwan
5Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan 33302, Taiwan
6Clinical Informatics and Medical Statistics Research Center and Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan 33302, Taiwan
7Department of Medical Imaging and Radiological Sciences, College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan 33302, Taiwan
8College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan 33302, Taiwan

Received 20 April 2016; Accepted 17 July 2016

Academic Editor: Christopher G. Lis

Copyright © 2016 Pei-Yu Hsu 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.


Xerostomia is one of the most common acute and late complications of radiotherapy for head and neck cancer, and it affects quality of life. We conducted a prospective study to evaluate the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in toxicities and quality of life during radiotherapy. Head and neck cancer patients who were scheduled for radiotherapy were checked for inclusion/exclusion criteria before enrollment. Patients in the study group (inpatients) were hospitalized in a Chinese medicine ward and received concomitant TCM intervention during radiotherapy, while those in the control group (outpatients) received only conventional cancer treatments at the Western outpatient department. The primary end point was amelioration of postradiotherapy side effects. The secondary end points were quality of life during the cancer therapy and occurrence of adverse events following the TCM treatments. Thirty inpatients and 50 outpatients completed the study. Compared to the control group, those in the TCM group had decreased severity of xerostomia. There was no treatment-related impairment of renal or hepatic function among TCM group. Although better outcomes of social contact, dyspnea, physical and emotional function, and financial problems were found in the TCM group, we need further confirmation about the impact of hospitalization itself on these results.