2019 Volume 139 Issue 7 Pages 1027-1046
The application of systematic review (SR) has been increased rapidly in the field of cancer treatment. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for cancer is no exception. The aim of this review is to evaluate and summarize systematic reviews on the CAM use in breast cancer patients. Search sources were Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD), Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR), and PubMed. In addition, we assessed the quality of SR with the Assessing the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR). This review did not consider control groups and outcomes. Thirty-four SRs met a set of criteria. According to interventions, there were twenty SRs which included yoga, acupuncture, and herbal medicines. Meta-analysis of 19 out of 34 reviews showed the followings: (1) acupuncture had a beneficial effect on the frequency of hot flushes, (2) yoga had a beneficial effect on depression and health-related QOL, (3) mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) had a beneficial effect on anxiety and depression, (4) combination of herbal medicine and chemotherapy synergistically improved clinical outcomes, (5) acupuncture did not show significant effect on the severity of hot flushes and cancer-related pain, (6) yoga was unable to be confirmed as having an effect on cancer-related pain and physical well-being. Given the results of AMSTAR, 9 out of 34 reviews were of high quality and 3 reviews were deemed to be of low quality. In conclusion, since most SRs were at moderate or high quality levels, CAM could be helpful for treating specific symptoms related to breast cancer.