Chinese Herbal Medicine for Advanced Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Am J Chin Med. 2018;46(5):923-952. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X18500490. Epub 2018 Jul 12.


Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) has been widely used in the treatment of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but their efficacy and safety remain controversial. We sought to comprehensively aggregate and evaluate the available evidence on the efficacy and safety of the combination treatment with CHM and epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) in NSCLC patients. Our exhausted and systematical searching strategy yielded 64 related randomized controlled trials involving 4384 patients. Compared with EGFR-TKIs therapy alone, meta-analysis showed significant differences favoring the combination treatment in progression-free survival ([Formula: see text]), median survival time ([Formula: see text]), one-year survival rate ([Formula: see text]), two-year survival rate ([Formula: see text]), probability of severe toxicities ([Formula: see text]), objective response rate ([Formula: see text]), Karnofsky performance status ([Formula: see text]), and improvement in percentage of CD3[Formula: see text] T lymphocyte ([Formula: see text]) and CD4[Formula: see text] T lymphocyte ([Formula: see text]). Though these results require further confirmation, they are prone to show a potential therapeutic value of CHM in improving the clinical effect, overcoming the drug resistance and toxicities as an adjunctive therapy to EGFR-TKIs.

Keywords: Adjunct Therapy; Chinese Herbal Medicine; Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor; Meta-Analysis; Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer; Review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / metabolism
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / administration & dosage*
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • ErbB Receptors