A systematic review of integrative clinical trials for supportive care in pediatric oncology: a report from the International Society of Pediatric Oncology, T&CM collaborative
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PURPOSE: Traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) use in children with cancer is well established among high-income, upper middle-income, low-middle-income, and low-income countries (HIC, UMIC, LMIC, LIC, respectively). In HIC, a developing body of evidence exists for several T&CM therapies; however, evidence in other income settings is less well described despite a significantly higher use when compared to reports from HIC. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the evidence for T&CM for a variety of supportive care indications among children with cancer. METHODS: We performed a systematic review following the PRISMA guidelines of randomized, controlled clinical trials from inception through September 2016. Our eligibility criteria were limited to T&CM studies performed in children and adolescents undergoing treatment for a pediatric malignancy. RESULTS: Of 6342 studies identified, 44 met inclusion criteria. Two clinical trials reported on acupuncture, 1 reported on aromatherapy, 9 evaluated massage therapy, and 32 reported on dietary supplements. Twenty-two studies were performed in HIC, 15 in UMIC, and 7 in LMIC. T&CM therapies were most commonly investigated for the prevention or management of mucositis, weight loss, and febrile neutropenia. Encouraging results were reported for select interventions; however, the majority of studies were classified as poor to fair quality. CONCLUSION: Our search revealed numerous clinical studies investigating the use of T&CM for supportive care purposes in pediatric oncology in HIC, UMIC, and LMIC. Although limited, these results could inform supportive care resource allocation and indicate where T&CM may serve to fill gaps where access to care may be limited.
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