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1.  Additional Therapy with a Mistletoe Product during Adjuvant Chemotherapy of Breast Cancer Patients Improves Quality of Life: An Open Randomized Clinical Pilot Trial 
Background. Breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy often experience a loss of quality of life. Moreover chemotherapy may induce neutropenia. Patients report a better quality of life when additionally treated with mistletoe products during chemotherapy. Methods. In this prospective randomized open-label pilot study 95 patients were randomized into three groups. All patients were treated with an adjuvant chemotherapy. The primary objective of the study was quality of life, the secondary objective was neutropenia. Here we report the comparison of HxA (n = 34) versus untreated control (n = 31). Results. In the explorative analysis ten of 15 scores of the EORTC QLQ-C30 showed a better quality of life in the HxA group compared to the control group (P < 0.001 to P = 0.038 in Dunnett-T3 test). The difference was clinically relevant (difference of at least 5 points, range 5.4–12.2) in eight of the ten scores. Neutropenia occurred in 7/34 HxA patients and in 8/31 control patients (P = 0.628). Conclusions. This pilot study showed an improvement of quality of life by treating breast cancer patients with HxA additionally to CAF. Although the open design may be a limitation, the findings show the feasibility of a confirmatory study using the methods described here.
PMCID: PMC3950471  PMID: 24701238
2.  Five-Year Follow-Up of Patients with Early Stage Breast Cancer After a Randomized Study Comparing Additional Treatment with Viscum Album (L.) Extract to Chemotherapy Alone 
Additional therapy with extracts of Viscum album [L.] (VaL) increases the quality of life of patients suffering from early stage breast cancer during chemotherapy. In the current study patients received chemotherapy, consisting of six cycles of cyclophosphamide, anthracycline, and 5-Fluoro-Uracil (CAF). Two groups also received one of two VaL extracts differing in their preparation as subcutaneous injection three times per week. A control group received CAF with no additional therapy. Six of 28 patients in one of the VaL groups and eight of 29 patients in the control group developed relapse or metastasis within 5 years. Subgroup analysis for hormone- and radiotherapy also showed no difference between groups. Additional VaL therapy during chemotherapy of early stage breast cancer patients appears not to influence the frequency of relapse or metastasis within 5 years.
PMCID: PMC3493140  PMID: 23150723
mistletoe therapy; chemotherapy; breast cancer; randomized clinical trial; disease-free survival rate; 5-year follow-up
3.  Quality of Life and Neutropenia in Patients with Early Stage Breast Cancer: A Randomized Pilot Study Comparing Additional Treatment with Mistletoe Extract to Chemotherapy Alone 
Chemotherapy for breast cancer often deteriorates quality of life, augments fatigue, and induces neutropenia. Mistletoe preparations are frequently used by cancer patients in Central Europe. Physicians have reported better quality of life in breast cancer patients additionally treated with mistletoe preparations during chemotherapy. Mistletoe preparations also have immunostimulant properties and might therefore have protective effects against chemotherapy-induced neutropenia.
Patients and Methods:
We conducted a prospective randomized open label pilot study with 95 patients randomized into three groups. Two groups received Iscador® M special (IMS) or a different mistletoe preparation, respectively, additionally to chemotherapy with six cycles of cyclophosphamide, adriamycin, and 5-fluoro-uracil (CAF). A control group received CAF with no additional therapy. Here we report the comparison IMS (n = 30) vs. control (n = 31). Quality of life including fatigue was assessed with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC-QLQ-C30). Neutropenia was defined as neutrophil counts <1,000/μl and assessed at baseline and one day before each CAF cycle.
In the descriptive analysis all 15 scores of the EORTC-QLQ-C30 showed better quality of life in the IMS group compared to the control group. In 12 scores the differences were significant (p < 0.02) and nine scores showed a clinically relevant and significant difference of at least 5 points. Neutropenia occurred in 3/30 IMS patients and in 8/31 control patients (p = 0.182).
This pilot study showed an improvement of quality of life by treating breast cancer patients with IMS additionally to CAF. CAF-induced neutropenia showed a trend to lower frequency in the IMS group.
PMCID: PMC3086310  PMID: 21556248
mistletoe thereapy; breast cancer; randomized clinical trial; quality of life; neutropenia
4.  Assessing the order of magnitude of outcomes in single-arm cohorts through systematic comparison with corresponding cohorts: An example from the AMOS study 
When a therapy has been evaluated in the first clinical study, the outcome is often compared descriptively to outcomes in corresponding cohorts receiving other treatments. Such comparisons are often limited to selected studies, and often mix different outcomes and follow-up periods. Here we give an example of a systematic comparison to all cohorts with identical outcomes and follow-up periods.
The therapy to be compared (anthroposophic medicine, a complementary therapy system) had been evaluated in one single-arm cohort study: the Anthroposophic Medicine Outcomes Study (AMOS). The five largest AMOS diagnosis groups (A-cohorts: asthma, depression, low back pain, migraine, neck pain) were compared to all retrievable corresponding cohorts (C-cohorts) receiving other therapies with identical outcomes (SF-36 scales or summary measures) and identical follow-up periods (3, 6 or 12 months). Between-group differences (pre-post difference in an A-cohort minus pre-post difference in the respective C-cohort) were divided with the standard deviation (SD) of the baseline score of the A-cohort.
A-cohorts (5 cohorts with 392 patients) were similar to C-cohorts (84 cohorts with 16,167 patients) regarding age, disease duration, baseline affection and follow-up rates. A-cohorts had ≥ 0.50 SD larger improvements than C-cohorts in 13.5% (70/517) of comparisons; improvements of the same order of magnitude (small or minimal differences: -0.49 to 0.49 SD) were found in 80.1% of comparisons; and C-cohorts had ≥ 0.50 SD larger improvements than A-cohorts in 6.4% of comparisons. Analyses stratified by diagnosis had similar results. Sensitivity analyses, restricting the comparisons to C-cohorts with similar study design (observational studies), setting (primary care) or interventions (drugs, physical therapies, mixed), or restricting comparisons to SF-36 scales with small baseline differences between A- and C-cohorts (-0.49 to 0.49 SD) also had similar results.
In this descriptive analysis, anthroposophic therapy was associated with SF-36 improvements largely of the same order of magnitude as improvements following other treatments. Although these non-concurrent comparisons cannot assess comparative effectiveness, they suggest that improvements in health status following anthroposophic therapy can be clinically meaningful. The analysis also demonstrates the value of a systematic approach when comparing a therapy cohort to corresponding therapy cohorts.
PMCID: PMC2323398  PMID: 18366683

Results 1-4 (4)