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Integrative Cancer Therapies

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Chinese Herbal medicine, Head and Neck Neoplasms--pathology


Background: Subjects with head and neck cancer (HNC) often experience post-treatment side effects, particularly radiation-induced oral mucositis (RIOM). This study aimed to explore the association of Chinese herbal medicine use with the sequent risk of RIOM among them.

Methods: This cohort study used a nationwide health insurance database to identify subjects newly diagnosed with HNC, aged 20 to 60 years, who received treatment between 2000 and 2007. Among them, a total of 561 cases received CHM after HNC onset (CHM users); the remaining 2395 cases were non-CHM users. All patients were followed to the end of 2012 to identify any treatment for RIOM as the end point. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to compute the adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) of RIOM by CHM use.

Results: During the follow-up period, 183 CHM users and 989 non-CHM users developed RIOM at incidence rates of 40.98 and 57.91 per 1000 person-years, respectively. CHM users had a lower RIOM risk than the non-CHM users (aHR: 0.68; 95% Confidence Interval: 0.58-0.80). The most potent effect was observed in those taking CHM for more than 1 year. Use of Baizhi, Danshen, Shao-Yao-Gan-Cao-Tang, Gan-Lu-Yin, Huangqin, Shu-Jing-Huo-Xue-Tang, and Xin-Yi-Qing-Fei-Tang, was significantly related to a lower risk of RIOM.

Conclusion: Findings of this study indicated that adding CHM to conventional clinical care could be helpful in protecting those with HNC against the onset of RIOM. Further clinical and mechanistic studies are warranted.


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