Traditional Chinese medicine may help maintain immune function in women undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, according to a UK study. Women with ovarian cancer were randomised to receive either TCM or placebo in addition to standard chemotherapy. The TCM group was observed to have less neutropaenia (decrease in number of neutrophils) after three cycles of chemotherapy (0% in the TCM group had grade 4 neutropaenia, versus 28.6% in the placebo group). Lymphocyte counts and cytokine activities also decreased less in the TCM group. TCM was not found to improve patients’ quality of life. (The use of Chinese herbal medicine to improve quality of life in women undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer: a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial with immunological monitoring. Ann Oncol. 2011 Feb 25).

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