PerspectiveCancer

Are Herbal Medicines Ripe for the Cancer Clinic?

Science Translational Medicine  18 Aug 2010:
Vol. 2, Issue 45, pp. 45ps41
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001517

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Abstract

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has become a core component of the daily challenges faced when treating cancer patients. PHY906 is a formulation of four herbal compounds traditionally used to treat nausea, vomiting, cramping, and diarrhea. Diarrhea is one of the major side effects of the cancer drug irinotecan. In this issue of Science Translational Medicine, Lam and colleagues report that administration of PHY906 with irinotecan in a mouse model of colon cancer resulted in a synergistic reduction in tumor burden, maintenance of body weight, and stem cell regeneration in the intestinal mucosa. Yet when considering CAM use in the treatment of cancer patients, one must take into account reproducibility of preclinical findings in clinical practice, quality assurance of herbal products, and potential toxicities associated with alternative therapies.

Footnotes

  • Citation: C. Eng, Are herbal medicines ripe for the cancer clinic? Sci. Transl. Med. 2, 45ps41 (2010).

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