Can complementary and alternative medicine clinical cancer research be successfully accomplished? The Mayo Clinic-North Central Cancer Treatment Group experience

Debra L. Barton, Charles Lawrence Loprinzi, Aminah Jatoi, Ann Vincent, Paul John Limburg, Brent A Bauer, Amit Sood, Marge Good, James D. Bearden IV, Joseph Kelaghan, Jeff A Sloan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Some critics question whether research on complementary and alternative modalities for patients with cancer can be done efficiently in traditional clinical settings. This article reviews a program of complementary medicine research that has been done in a traditional clinical setting over the past 30 years. Trials using complementary therapies for both symptom management and cancer treatment done by the Mayo Clinic and the North Central Cancer Treatment Group are reviewed. Twenty-seven studies have been developed using complementary therapies, addressing such issues as mucosal and epidermal toxicity, hot flashes, lymphedema, anorexia and cachexia, insomnia, cognitive dysfunction, fatigue, and cancer treatment. Nineteen of them have been completed and have had results published in peer-reviewed clinical journals, whereas two manuscripts are in press. Two other trials have recently completed accrual, and the data are being analyzed so that manuscripts can be prepared. In addition, four clinical trials are actively accruing patients. The data presented in this article demonstrate that complementary and alternative medicine research can be done in a scientifically sound manner. Well-designed and adequately powered studies can be implemented, and large numbers of patients can be accrued. The resulting research evaluations can be published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-152
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Society for Integrative Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2006



  • Complementary medicine
  • Herbal treatments
  • Symptom management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Oncology

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