Study questions use of mistletoe as adjuvant
treatment for head and neck cancer
A controlled clinical trial in 477 people with head and neck
squamous cell carcinoma concluded that standardized mistletoe
extract (Viscum album) was ineffective in preventing cancer
recurrence or metastases after surgery or radiation treatment.
In addition, five-year survival rates were no better for people
taking mistletoe than for the control group, and no significant
differences in quality of life were observed. According to the
researchers, mistletoe is one of the most commonly used alternative
treatments for cancer in Europe. A number of earlier clinical
studies suggested that mistletoe may have value as an adjuvant
cancer treatment, but these investigators criticized the overall
quality of the older studies. They concluded, "...the used
mistletoe preparation has no indication in the adjuvant treatment
of patients with head and neck cancer." Steuer-Vogt MK,
Bonkowsky V, Ambrosch P, et al. The effect of an adjuvant mistletoe
treatment programme in resected head and neck cancer patients:
a randomised controlled clinical trial. European Journal of
Cancer 2001; 37: 23-31.
© 2003 by Herb Research Foundation,
Boulder, CO, USA.