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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017, Article ID 3432750, 13 pages
Review Article

Oral Chinese Herbal Medicine as an Adjuvant Treatment for Chemotherapy, or Radiotherapy, Induced Myelosuppression: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

1School of Basic Medicine, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
2Department of Pharmacology, Guiyang Medical University, Guiyang, Guizhou, China
3Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Qi Wang; moc.qq@mctiqw and Shuiqing Huang; nc.ude.mcuzg@qsh

Received 3 November 2016; Revised 8 February 2017; Accepted 7 March 2017; Published 10 August 2017

Academic Editor: Kieran Cooley

Copyright © 2017 Bonan Hou 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.


Objective. Myelosuppression is a common side effect in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) has shown promise in alleviating myelosuppression. Method. We searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) from seven databases without language restriction. We included RCTs in adults, in which hematological toxicity was measured according to WHO criteria and control group underwent chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy and the treatment group was given oral CHM. Results. We searched 1021 articles from the date of databases inception to October 7, 2016. We selected 14 articles for the final analysis. Pooled data showed that CHM significantly decreased the suppression rate of leukocytes, neutrophils, hemoglobin, and platelets compared with the control group, particularly in grade III-IV toxicity (leukocytes: RR = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.33–0.56; neutrophils: RR = 0.39, 95% CI = 0.27–0.58; hemoglobin: RR = 0.33, 95% CI = 0.18–0.61; platelets: RR = 0.61, 95% CI = 0.39–0.95). Conclusions. CHM as an adjuvant can alleviate myelosuppression induced by chemotherapy or radiotherapy, reduce grade III-IV toxicity, and maintain therapeutic dose and treatment cycle. However, due to heterogeneity and publication bias, the results should be interpreted with caution and validated by conducting strictly designed multicenter RCTs of high quality and large scale.