Special Issue "Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer Patients"

A special issue of Medicines (ISSN 2305-6320).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Sivarama Vinjamury

Southern California University of Health Sciences, 16200 Amber Valley Drive, Whittier, CA 90604, USA
E-Mail
Interests: Cancer, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Cancer treatment, Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Cancer Pain, Quality of Life, Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Herbs, yoga, tai-chi
Co-Guest Editor
Dr. Elizabeth Sommers

Affiliation: Boston Medical Center - Integrative Medicine Program, Boston, MA, USA
E-Mail
Interests: Acupuncture research in the areas of HIV/AIDS, substance use and women's health. Public health policy related to integrative, complementary, and Traditional Health practices

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. According to WHO, there are about 14 million new cases of cancer diagnosis each year across the world, and 8.2 million deaths in 2013 were cancer-related. Early detection and adequate evidence-based treatment can reduce and control cancer. Over half of all cancer patients seek or use Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) treatments to address cancer-related symptoms or to manage the side-effects caused by cancer or cancer treatment. CAM refers to all treatment and healing practices that are used in conjunction with or instead of standard Western treatments for cancer.

Despite their wide use, the safety and effectiveness of the CAM therapies have not been evaluated as intensely as conventional Western medicine. To address this gap, a small group of CAM treatments have gone through careful evaluation using scientific research methods.  It is important to disseminate the outcomes of such research. This Special Issue focuses on the utilization, safety, and effectiveness of Complementary and Alternative Medicine on cancer patients. We invite articles that implement CAM therapies in treating patients with cancer. There are no specifications or limitations on the type of cancer or the type of studies, as long as CAM methodologies are used.

Prof. Dr. Sivarama Vinjamury
Dr. Elizabeth Sommers
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Medicines is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

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Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Protective Effects of Six Selected Dietary Compounds against Leptin-Induced Proliferation of Oestrogen Receptor Positive (MCF-7) Breast Cancer Cells
Received: 4 July 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
Abstract: Background: Obesity is considered as one of the risk factors for breast cancer. Leptin has been found to be involved in breast cancer progression. Therefore, novel approaches to antagonize biological effects of leptin are much needed. The objective of this study was [...] Read more.
Abstract: Background: Obesity is considered as one of the risk factors for breast cancer. Leptin has been found to be involved in breast cancer progression. Therefore, novel approaches to antagonize biological effects of leptin are much needed. The objective of this study was to evaluate the protective effects of six dietary compounds (quercetin, curcumin, gallic acid, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), ascorbic acid and catechin) and assess the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) in leptin-stimulated MCF-7 breast cancer cells in vitro. Methods: MCF-7 cells were exposed to leptin, leptin and compound and compound alone for 48 h. Cell viability was determined by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide MTT and fluorometric assays after 48 h incubation. Phosphorylation of ERK1/2 was quantified by ELISA. Results: Only quercetin, curcumin and EGCG showed significant protective effects against leptin-induced proliferation of MCF-7 cells. Increase in ERK1/2 phosphorylation in response to leptin was reduced by the addition of quercetin, curcumin and EGCG. Conclusions: Considering the high prevalence of obesity, this observation provides a rationale for use of curcumin, quercetin and EGCG as antagonists of leptin in the treatment of obese breast cancer patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer Patients)
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Open AccessArticle
An Aloe Vera-Based Cosmeceutical Cream Delays and Mitigates Ionizing Radiation-Induced Dermatitis in Head and Neck Cancer Patients Undergoing Curative Radiotherapy: A Clinical Study
Received: 9 May 2017 / Revised: 14 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 24 June 2017
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Abstract
Background: This study was planned to evaluate the efficacy of topical application of an Aloe vera-based cream (AVC) for the prevention of ionizing radiation (X ray)-induced dermatitis in head and neck cancer patients requiring therapeutic radiation treatment (>62 Gy). Methods: From July [...] Read more.
Background: This study was planned to evaluate the efficacy of topical application of an Aloe vera-based cream (AVC) for the prevention of ionizing radiation (X ray)-induced dermatitis in head and neck cancer patients requiring therapeutic radiation treatment (>62 Gy). Methods: From July 2012 to December 2012, a total of 60 head and neck cancer patients requiring curative radiotherapy (RT) of more than 66 Gy were prospectively enrolled and treated with AVC or a comparator Johnson’s Baby Oil (JBO). Acute skin reaction was monitored and classified according to the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) four-point rating scale on a weekly basis. Results: The results indicate that there was a statistically significant delay in the incidence (p = 0.04) of dermatitis at week three in the AVC application group. Application of AVC reduced the incidence of Grade 1, 2, and 3 dermatitis at subsequent time points, while Grade 4 dermatitis was not seen in either cohort. The other most important observation was that the continued application of AVC two weeks after the completion of RT was effective in reducing the average grade of dermatitis and was statistically significant (p < 0.02). Conclusions: Prophylactic use of an AVC-based cream is thus effective in delaying radiation dermatitis in head and neck cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer Patients)
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Open AccessArticle
Sandalwood Oil and Turmeric-Based Cream Prevents Ionizing Radiation-Induced Dermatitis in Breast Cancer Patients: Clinical Study
Received: 9 May 2017 / Revised: 17 June 2017 / Accepted: 22 June 2017 / Published: 24 June 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (465 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: The primary objective of this study was to ascertain the benefit of Vicco turmeric Ayurvedic cream (VTC; Vicco Laboratories, Mumbai, India) sandalwood oil and turmeric-based cream in preventing radiodermatitis in women undergoing curative radiotherapy for their breast cancer. Methods and Materials [...] Read more.
Background: The primary objective of this study was to ascertain the benefit of Vicco turmeric Ayurvedic cream (VTC; Vicco Laboratories, Mumbai, India) sandalwood oil and turmeric-based cream in preventing radiodermatitis in women undergoing curative radiotherapy for their breast cancer. Methods and Materials: The study was an investigator-blinded randomized study with Johnsons Baby Oil (JBO; Johnson & Johnson Ltd., Baddi, India) as a comparator, administered daily from the start of radiation therapy for 5 weeks in women receiving breast radiation therapy, 50 Gy in 2 Gy fractions daily for 5 weeks. The endpoints were to ascertain the delay in the appearance and the degree of severity of dermatitis throughout the study period in accordance to the Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) score. Results: The results indicated that the topical application of VTC delayed and mitigated the radiodermatitis. When compared to the Johnson’s Baby Oil, a significant decrease (p = 0.025) in the incidence of grade 1 was seen at week two, and also in grade 2 and 3 at week 3 (p = 0.003) and week 4 (p = 0.02), respectively, in the VTC cohort. A concomitant decrease in the average severity was also observed at week 2 (p = 0.02), week 3 (p = 0.05) and week 4 (p = 0.03). Conclusions: The results indicate that VTC cream significantly reduces radiation dermatitis when applied to the breast during and after radiation therapy. The result of this study indicates the beneficial effects. Double blind randomized control studies are required to further confirm the beneficial effects of VTC in mitigating radiodermatitis is people undergoing radiation treatment for their cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer Patients)
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Open AccessArticle
Current Usage of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Breast Cancer—A Narrative Approach to the Experiences of Women with Breast Cancer in Australia—A Pilot Study
Received: 13 November 2016 / Revised: 10 April 2017 / Accepted: 10 April 2017 / Published: 21 April 2017
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Abstract
Background: The use of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) by breast cancer patients is growing. Few studies have examined the complexity of breast cancer survivors’ attitudes, lived experiences, barriers, and perceptions in using TCM as part of their treatment journey. This article examines breast [...] Read more.
Background: The use of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) by breast cancer patients is growing. Few studies have examined the complexity of breast cancer survivors’ attitudes, lived experiences, barriers, and perceptions in using TCM as part of their treatment journey. This article examines breast cancer survivors’ experiences, perceptions of, and benefits (or not) in using TCM. Methods: Qualitative research, using semi-structured interviews, was the chosen methodology. Results: Participants used TCM as a form of self-help and as a complement, not an alternative, to standard care. Overall, 100% of the participants used acupuncture, 62% used Chinese herbal medicine, 23% used Qigong, and 23% used Chinese dietary therapy. Participants reported perceived outcomes and health benefits from TCM usage ranging from increased coping mechanisms, relieving stress and side-effects of standard treatment, the desire to be pro-active in the treatment journey, and to have a locus of control. Some cited the need to have “time-out” and the therapeutic relationship with the practitioner as being important. Conclusion: There is a clear need to understand breast cancer survivors’ needs for physical and psychological support as they aim to regain control over their life through their experience of illness. More studies are needed to measure and evaluate these outcomes and to help identify breast cancer survivors’ healthcare seeking behaviours, during and after the acute treatment stage that addresses their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. These results aim to inform future research design and evaluate and develop support services that are patient-centred and focus on whole health outcomes, shared decision-making, and quality of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer Patients)
Open AccessArticle
ShenLingLan Influences the Attachment and Migration of Ovarian Cancer Cells Potentially through the GSK3 Pathway
Received: 18 November 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
Background: Ovarian cancer presents a major clinical challenge in the UK. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) has been linked to cancer. This study tested the impact of ShenLingLan (SLDM) on ovarian cancer cell behaviour and its links to GSK-3. Methods: Fresh ovarian [...] Read more.
Background: Ovarian cancer presents a major clinical challenge in the UK. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) has been linked to cancer. This study tested the impact of ShenLingLan (SLDM) on ovarian cancer cell behaviour and its links to GSK-3. Methods: Fresh ovarian tumours (n = 52) were collected and processed. Histopathologcial and clinical information were collected and analysed against GSK-3 transcript levels using quantitative PCR (qPCR). Immortalised ovarian cancer cells’ protein alterations in response to SLDM were identified using a Kinexus™ protein kinase array. The effects of SLDM and a combination of SLDM and TWS119 on ovarian cancer cells ability to attach and migrate were evaluated using electrical cell-substrate impedance sensing (ECIS). Results: Transcript expression of GSK-3β was significantly increased in ovarian tumours which were poorly differentiated, patients with recurrence and in patients who had died from ovarian cancer. Treating SKOV-3 ovarian cells with SLDM reduced GSK-3 expression and GSK-3α (Y279). Treatment with SLDM reduced ovarian cancer cells ability to attach and migrate, which was further reduced in the presence of TWS119. Conclusions: This study identified a potential mechanism by which SLDM may exert anti-metastatic effects. Further work is needed to investigate the in vivo effects SLDM has on ovarian tumours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer Patients)
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Open AccessArticle
Antifungal and Anticancer Potential of Argemone mexicana L.
Received: 12 August 2016 / Revised: 15 October 2016 / Accepted: 28 October 2016 / Published: 3 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2223 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background: Medicinal plants are widely used to treat infectious diseases, metabolic disorders and cancer. Argemone mexicana L. (A. mexicana), commonly found on desolate land of Marathwada (Maharashtra, India) has been used to treat oral cavity infections. Methods: In this study, cold [...] Read more.
Background: Medicinal plants are widely used to treat infectious diseases, metabolic disorders and cancer. Argemone mexicana L. (A. mexicana), commonly found on desolate land of Marathwada (Maharashtra, India) has been used to treat oral cavity infections. Methods: In this study, cold aqueous and methanolic extracts were prepared from A. mexicana stem and leaves. These extracts were tested for their antifungal and anticancer activities. The antifungal activity was tested using the agar well diffusion method, while the anticancer activity against immortalized cell lines was assessed by trypan blue assay. Results: It was observed that both cold aqueous and methanolic extracts of A. mexicana stem and leaves inhibited the growth of Mucor indicus, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus niger and Penicillum notatum. Antifungal activity of the extract was comparable to that of Amphoterecin-B. A. mexicana extracts had a cytotoxic effect on A549, SiHa and KB immortalized cell lines that were similar to that of berberine. Conclusion: The A. mexicana leaf and stems exhibit strong antifungal and anticancer potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer Patients)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Dietary Isoflavones and Breast Cancer Risk
Received: 20 February 2017 / Revised: 22 March 2017 / Accepted: 24 March 2017 / Published: 7 April 2017
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (619 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Breast cancer is the deadliest neoplasm in women globally, resulting in a significant health burden. In many cases, breast cancer becomes resistant to chemotherapy, radiation, and hormonal therapies. It is believed that genetics is not the major cause of breast cancer. Other contributing [...] Read more.
Breast cancer is the deadliest neoplasm in women globally, resulting in a significant health burden. In many cases, breast cancer becomes resistant to chemotherapy, radiation, and hormonal therapies. It is believed that genetics is not the major cause of breast cancer. Other contributing risk factors include age at first childbirth, age at menarche, age at menopause, use of oral contraceptives, race and ethnicity, and diet. Diet has been shown to influence breast cancer incidence, recurrence, and prognosis. Soy isoflavones have long been a staple in Asian diets, and there appears to be an increase, albeit modest, compared to Asian populations, in soy consumption among Americans. Isoflavones are phytoestrogens that have antiestrogenic as well as estrogenic effects on breast cancer cells in culture, in animal models, and in clinical trials. This study will investigate anticancer and tumor promoting properties of dietary isoflavones and evaluate their effects on breast cancer development. Furthermore, this work seeks to elucidate the putative molecular pathways by which these phytochemicals modulate breast cancer risk by synergizing or antagonizing the estrogen receptor (ER) and in ER-independent signaling mechanisms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer Patients)
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Open AccessReview
Ganoderma spp.: A Promising Adjuvant Treatment for Breast Cancer
Received: 29 December 2016 / Revised: 24 February 2017 / Accepted: 3 March 2017 / Published: 15 March 2017
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Abstract
For the past several decades, cancer patients in the U.S. have chosen the use of natural products as an alternative or complimentary medicine approach to treat or improve their quality of life via reduction or prevention of the side effects during or after [...] Read more.
For the past several decades, cancer patients in the U.S. have chosen the use of natural products as an alternative or complimentary medicine approach to treat or improve their quality of life via reduction or prevention of the side effects during or after cancer treatment. The genus Ganoderma includes about 80 species of mushrooms, of which several have been used for centuries in traditional Asian medicine for their medicinal properties, including anticancer and immunoregulatory effects. Numerous bioactive compounds seem to be responsible for their healing effects. Among the approximately 400 compounds produced by Ganoderma spp., triterpenes, peptidoglycans and polysaccharides are the major physiologically-active constituents. Ganoderma anticancer effects are attributed to its efficacy in reducing cancer cell survival and growth, as well as by its chemosensitizing role. In vitro and in vivo studies have been conducted in various cancer cells and animal models; however, in this review, we focus on Ganoderma’s efficacy on breast cancers. Evidence shows that some species of Ganoderma have great potential as a natural therapeutic for breast cancer. Nevertheless, further studies are needed to investigate their potential in the clinical setting and to translate our basic scientific findings into therapeutic interventions for cancer patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer Patients)
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Open AccessReview
Add-On Complementary Medicine in Cancer Care: Evidence in Literature and Experiences of Integration
Received: 22 November 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 17 January 2017 / Published: 24 January 2017
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Abstract
Background: According to the literature an increasing number of cancer patients demand for complementary therapies during their disease. Research has demonstrated that some of these therapies are effective and safe as adjunctive treatments in specific symptoms of these patients. Methods: The [...] Read more.
Background: According to the literature an increasing number of cancer patients demand for complementary therapies during their disease. Research has demonstrated that some of these therapies are effective and safe as adjunctive treatments in specific symptoms of these patients. Methods: The aims of the paper are to review the main and recent papers of international literature on the effectiveness of complementary medicine (CM) therapies on side effects of anti-cancer protocols and improvement in the quality of life of oncological patients, and to describe the integration of evidence-based acupuncture, herbal medicine and homeopathy treatments in Public Cancer Network of the region of Tuscany. Results: After the review of literature and the approval of a Regional Resolution, some CM will be introduced in Cancer Departments in Tuscany to additionally treat cancer-related symptoms and side effects of conventional cancer therapy: acupuncture for nausea and post-chemotherapy and post-surgery vomiting, pain, hot flashes of iatrogenic menopause, xerostomia; homeopathy for hot flashes of iatrogenic menopause and the side effects of radiotherapy; herbal medicine for cancer-related fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, mucositis, anxiety, and depression. Conclusions: The integration of evidence-based complementary treatments allows for an effective response to the demand coming from cancer patients and combines safety and equity of access in public health systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer Patients)
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