Quality of life in breast cancer patients during chemotherapy and concurrent therapy with a mistletoe extract

Phytomedicine. 2011 Jan 15;18(2-3):151-7. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2010.06.013. Epub 2010 Aug 19.


Background: The effects of standardized aqueous mistletoe extracts on Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) of tumor patients needs further evaluation.

Methods: in this non-interventional, prospective clinical investigation the longitudinal course of Quality of Life of 270 breast cancer patients during adjuvant chemotherapy and mistletoe therapy with abnobaVISCUM(®) Mali was investigated. HRQoL was measured 4 times by self-assessment with the QLQ-C30 and QLQ-BR23 questionnaire of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC): at the beginning of mistletoe- and chemotherapy, 4 weeks later, at the end of the chemotherapy and 4 weeks after finishing chemotherapy. Secondary objectives were the tolerability and safety of mistletoe therapy in combination with chemotherapy under conditions of daily practice.

Results: after an initial deterioration the average range of all obtained QLQ-C30 function scales (n=262, 48.9-71.5) remained stable even at the last chemotherapy cycle and improved significantly (p<0.0001) to 66.9-80.7 4 weeks later, compared to the initial visit. Also the QLQ-BR23 function scales significantly improved (p<0.0001) 4 weeks later. The symptom scales of the QLQ-C30 remained stable under chemotherapy even at the final chemotherapy cycle and decreased from 16.2 to 44.1 at the initial visit to 11.2-29.9 (p<0.001) at the final visit. These results were comparable to the subgroup with initial visit before chemotherapy (n=114) in which rather stable function scales during chemotherapy (difference of the mean values: 9.6 to -3.7) and only little increase of symptoms (difference: 13.2 to -4.9) was measured. The tolerability of the therapy was judged by the physicians as good or very good for 91% of the patients and the efficacy was rated as good or very good for 94%. 89% of the patients reported about a good or very good benefit.

Conclusion: the overall results point to a relevant stabilisation of Health Related Quality of Life during various chemotherapy regimes, possibly due to a reduction of chemotherapy caused side effects with an excellent tolerability of the mistletoe therapy.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Viscum album*
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Plant Extracts