Can complementary medicine increase adherence to chemotherapy dosing protocol? A controlled study in an integrative oncology setting

Shalom-Sharabi, Ilanit; Lavie, Ofer; Samuels, Noah; Keinan-Boker, Lital; Lev, Efraim; Ben-Arye, Eran
December 2017
Journal of Cancer Research & Clinical Oncology;Dec2017, Vol. 143 Issue 12, p2535
Academic Journal
Context and objectives: The impact of complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) on adherence to chemotherapy regimens is unclear. We explored the effect of patient-tailored CIM treatments on the relative dose intensity (RDI) of chemotherapy among patients with breast and gynecological cancer. Methods: Chemotherapy-treated patients with breast or gynecological cancer were referred by their oncology healthcare professional to a CIM treatment program. Adherence to integrative care (AIC) was defined as ≥4 CIM treatments, with ≤30 days between each treatment. Relative dose intensity (RDI) of chemotherapy was compared between CIM-treated patients and controls, and among adherence sub-groups. Results: RDI was calculated for 106-treated patients (62 AIC) and 75 controls. Baseline-to-6-week RDI values were similar in both study arms, with a lower % RDI <1.0 among controls at 12 weeks (47 vs. 57.5%; P = 0.036). Adherence sub-groups had similar RDI values, though at 6 weeks, the AIC group had lower % RDI <1.0 (33.9 vs. 54.5%, P = 0.046). Total administered medication dose/planned dose was higher in the AIC group at 6 weeks for paclitaxel (82%/50%, P = 0.025) and carboplatin (87%/67%, P = 0.028), with no difference in cytoxan/adriamycin dosages. Conclusion: A patient-tailored CIM program for patients with breast or gynecological cancer may be associated with a lower percentage of reduced RDI at 6 weeks, this in a sub-group of patients with higher adherence to CIM, and for specific chemotherapy agents, though this benefit did not persist after 12 weeks. Further research is needed to better understand the impact of CIM in cancer care.


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