Login to MyKarger

New to MyKarger? Click here to sign up.

Login with Facebook

Forgot your password?

Authors, Editors, Reviewers

For Manuscript Submission, Check or Review Login please go to Submission Websites List.

Submission Websites List

Institutional Login
(Shibboleth or Open Athens)

For the academic login, please select your country in the dropdown list. You will be redirected to verify your credentials.

Original Article · Originalartikel

Editor's Choice - Free Access

Efficacy and Safety of Mistletoe Preparations (Viscum album) for Patients with Cancer Diseases

A Systematic Review

Melzer J. · Iten F. · Hostanska K. · Saller R.

Author affiliations

Institute of Complementary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland

Corresponding Author

Jörg Melzer, MD Institute of Complementary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine University Hospital Zurich CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland Tel. +41 44 255-2460, Fax -4394 joerg.melzer@usz.ch

Related Articles for ""

Forsch Komplementmed 2009;16:217–226

Do you have an account?

Login Information

Contact Information

I have read the Karger Terms and Conditions and agree.


Background: Mistletoe is often used as a complementary approach in oncology. Despite experimental anti-tumour effects and several reviews there remains controversy about its clinical role. Patients and Methods: Potentially relevant trials were identified to perform a systematic review (databases: e.g. EMBASE, MEDLINE; hand search: e.g. bibliographies; search terms: e.g. mistletoe). To be included, randomised or comparative clinical trials at least had to examine mistletoe preparations standardized according to manufacturing process and to describe interventions explicitly. Additionally, cohort studies were included for reasons of external validity. Results were summarised in tables. Results: 18 clinical trials (>6,800 participants) were included. Their internal quality was mostly low. Due to heterogeneity between trials a meta-analysis was impossible. Regarding efficacy, findings were inconsistent regarding life expectancy, relation to tumour entity, dosing and treatment duration. Yet, studies indicate that quality of life (QoL) is improved. As these findings do not seem to be limited to one of the different parenteral mistletoe preparations reviewed the treatment may be summarised under the umbrella term ‘mistletoe therapy’. Regarding safety, 1 serious adverse event (AE) related to mistletoe was described; non-serious AEs were local reactions at injection site. Allergic reactions were rare. Conclusion: Supportive ‘mistletoe therapy’ seems safe and beneficial for QoL in adult patients with solid tumours. But there is an urgent need to confirm its efficacy in patient-centred care in a complex oncological setting. This has to be evaluated systematically in prospective observational trials with validated, multidimensional patient-rated QoL questionnaires and comparisons of different preparations and dosages.

© 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Article · Originalartikel

Published online: July 17, 2009
Issue release date: September 2009

Number of Print Pages: 10
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 2504-2092 (Print)
eISSN: 2504-2106 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/CMR

Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.