Homeopathic treatment may improve quality of life (QOL) and survival among patients with stage III-IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who are receiving chemotherapy, according to a study published in The Oncologist.

The double-blind, phase 3 study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01509612) included adults diagnosed with stage IIIB/IIIC or IV NSCLC in the prior 8 weeks. As first-line treatment, patients received cisplatin or carboplatin in combination with either gemcitabine or pemetrexed for up to 6 cycles.

In addition to receiving chemotherapy, patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive an individualized homeopathic treatment (n=51) or a placebo (n=47). A third trial arm was a control group of patients who had chosen not to participate in the randomized trial but agreed to participate in the survival analysis (n=52).


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QOL was evaluated using the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) and the 36-Item Short Form Survey (SF-36).

Patients in the homeopathic intervention arm had significantly better global health at both 9 weeks and 18 weeks, relative to the placebo group (P <.001). Patients in the homeopathic intervention arm also had higher functional status and reduced symptom burden, compared with the placebo group.

Overall survival (OS) was assessed over an observation period of 730 days. The median OS was 435 days in the homeopathic intervention arm and 257 days in the placebo arm (P =.010). The median OS in the control arm was 228 days, which was significantly shorter than the median OS in the homeopathy arm (P <.001) but similar to that of the placebo arm (P =.258). OS rates were 45.1%, 23.4%, and 13.5% in the homeopathy, placebo, and control arms, respectively.

These findings suggest homeopathy positively affects QOL and OS. However, the researchers noted that “[a] higher QOL might have contributed to the prolonged survival.” They also suggested that additional studies should include other tumor types.

Disclosures: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.

Reference

Frass M, Lechleitner P, Gründling C, et al. Homeopathic treatment as an add-on therapy may improve quality of life and prolong survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer: A prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, three-arm, multicenter study. Oncologist. 2020;25(12):e1930-e1955. doi:10.1002/onco.13548

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor