Background: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a widely applied complementary therapy for cancer patients. It can reduce the chemical drugs induced toxic effects to improve the quality of life (QOL). This study applies the highest quality of clinical trial methodology to examine the role of TCM in improving QOL of postoperative non-small-cell lung cancer patients.
Methods and design: This study is a multi-center, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Four hundred eighty patients will be recruited into seven different research centers in China. These patients that meet the inclusion criteria will be randomized into either a treatment group or a placebo group. Each group will receive treatments of 3-weekly chemotherapy with TCM or placebo for four cycles. The primary outcome will involve the evaluation of QOL and the secondary outcome assessments will include two-year disease-free survival rate and disease-free survival. Other efficacy assessments are changes of TCM symptoms and toxicity. Side effects and safety profile of the therapy would be evaluated at the same time. The investigators expect that TCM therapy combined with chemotherapy is superior to chemotherapy solely in terms of QOL improvement and disease-free survival extension. "Intention-to-treat" analysis will include all randomized participants.
Discussion: The results from the clinical trial will provide evidence for the effectiveness of chemotherapy combined with or without TCM in QOL of postoperative NSCLC patients.
Trial registration: Clinical Trials.gov (Identifier: NCT01441752).