Supportive interventions for childhood cancer: An umbrella review of randomized evidence

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2022 Dec:180:103845. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2022.103845. Epub 2022 Oct 17.


Therapeutic advancements have improved pediatric cancer prognosis, shifting the interest towards the management of psychosocial burden and treatment-related morbidity. To critically appraise the available evidence, we conducted an umbrella review of meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials on supportive interventions for childhood cancer. Thirty-four publications (92 meta-analyses, 1 network, 14,521 participants) were included. The most concrete data showed a reduction in procedure-related pain and distress through hypnosis. Moreover, exercise improved the functional mobility of the patients. Regarding pharmacological interventions, most of the meta-analyses pertained to the treatment of nausea/vomiting (ondansetron was effective) and infections/febrile neutropenia [granulocyte-(macrophage) colony-stimulating factors showed benefits]. Substantial heterogeneity was detected in 31 associations. Conclusively, supportive interventions for pediatric cancer are being thoroughly evaluated. However, most of the studies are small and of moderate quality, highlighting the need for more randomized evidence in order to increase precision in improving the quality of life of patients, survivors and their families.

Keywords: Adverse events; Chemotherapy; Childhood cancer; Randomized controlled trials; Supportive interventions; Umbrella review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Nausea
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Survivors
  • Vomiting