Long-Term Effectiveness of Combined Treatment with Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine on the Prognosis of Patients with Lung Cancer

Woung Ru Tang*, Sien Hung Yang, Chih Teng Yu, Chin Chou Wang, Sheng Teng Huang, Tzu Hsin Huang, Ming Chu Chiang, Yue Cune Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objectives: The study aim was to compare the long-term effect of Western medicine and combined treatment with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western medicine on the prognosis (survival rate, symptom distress, physical function, and quality of life) of patients with lung cancer. Design: Longitudinal study. Setting/Location: Two medical centers, one each in Northern and Southern Taiwan. Patients: Patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer and treated with Western medicine (n = 54) or TCM plus Western medicine (n = 30). Outcome measures: Symptom distress, physical function, and quality of life were measured by using the Symptom Distress Scale, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group-Performance Status Rating, and European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaires (EORTC QLQ-C30 and EORTC QLQ-LC13), respectively. Data on these measures were collected at baseline (before treatment) and 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after starting treatment. Survival was estimated by Kaplan-Meier curves. Group differences in outcomes were analyzed by generalized estimating equations. Results: Treatment groups did not differ significantly at baseline for demographic information; disease severity; symptom distress; or EORTC QLQ-C30 and QLQ-LC13 scores, except for pain and dyspnea. After adjustment for these baseline effects, the combined-treatment group had better physical function and role function than the Western medicine group at 6 months (p < 0.05). The combined treatment group had better cumulative survival, but this difference did not reach significance. Conclusions: To more precisely estimate the long-term effectiveness of combined treatment on the prognosis of patients with lung cancer, future studies should standardize the number of TCM visits; increase the number of participants by continuous recruitment; and ask patients to complete daily logs with single-item measures of outcomes, such as symptom distress, quality of life, and physical function. Similar studies are suggested in patients with different cancers to develop a collaborative model using Western medicine and TCM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-222
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 01 03 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2016, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2016.


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