Cancer outcomes at the Hufeland (complementary/alternative medicine) klinik: a best-case series review

Integr Cancer Ther. 2005 Jun;4(2):156-67. doi: 10.1177/1534735405275796.


Purpose: A best-case series review is an efficient tool with which to screen complex complementary and alternative treatments for cancer as candidates for further study.

Study design: The National Cancer Institute and other agencies have adopted the best-case series method to evaluate cancer treatments involving complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for further study. The authors conducted a best-case series review of the Hufeland Klinik. Established in 1985 in Bad Mergentheim, Germany, this facility treats more than 500 cancer patients per year. Hufeland treatment includes dietary modification, injections, ozone therapy, active fever therapy, psychotherapy, and sometimes hormone therapy and/or low-dose chemotherapy. The goal of the treatment is to prolong survival and to maintain good quality of life.

Methods: The clinic provided summaries of 27 cases in which patients with longer than expected survival had agreed to make their medical records available for review. The review involved pathologic confirmation of disease and radiologic confirmation of complete response (CR) or partial response (PR) not attributable to conventional treatment.

Results: Based on the summaries and an exhaustive 2-year search for medical records, slides, and imaging data, 12 of 27 cases were selected for full review, and 5 (3 CRs and 2 PRs) were judged best cases.

Conclusion: Most patients with common cancers receive conventional treatment before coming to Hufeland, and many are treated with chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy while there. Hence, only a few could be considered for review. With 5 of 12 patients showing a treatment response, the authors conclude that the Hufeland treatment merits further study. They also recommend the development of criteria with which to evaluate best-case series reviews of complex CAM treatments for patients with advanced cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome