Mistletoe therapy for pancreatic cancer

For the use of mistletoe therapy in patients with pancreatic cancer, there are several studies showing that mistletoe therapy can be beneficial for this type of cancer. 

Especially, one study with results on survival time which were published in the European Journal of Cancer, and with results on quality of life published in the Deutschen Ärzteblatt (German Medical Journal) is particularly notable [81, 127]. It is a prospective, open, monocentric, randomized study that enrolled 220 patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer. They were not eligible for surgery and all enrolled patients received supportive treatment in form of "best supportive care". One group of patients received add-on mistletoe therapy, the other group did not. Patients with a life expectancy of less than four weeks were not included.

Patients in the mistletoe group received Iscador® Qu three times a week in increasing doses of 0.01 milligrams to 10 milligrams under the skin. 

The primary endpoint for the study was 12-month survival. A total of 434 patients was planned to be enrolled. Secondary issues were quality of life and safety of therapy.

An interim analysis after half of the target number of patients had been enrolled revealed that mistletoe therapy showed a significant advantage for patient survival. Subsequently, the scientific advisory board monitoring the study recommended to discontinue the study because, in its opinion, it was no longer ethically justifiable to deprive other patients’ mistletoe therapy.

The results were really convincing: the median survival time in the mistletoe group was 4.8 months compared to 2.8 months in the patients of the control group, almost twice as long. 

It was also shown that the patients in the mistletoe group had a significantly better quality of life, especially with regard to pain, fatigue, loss of appetite and insomnia.

Another study with 396 patients from several centres in Germany and Switzerland [45] demonstrated that in all tumour stages in the mistletoe group (adjuvant chemotherapy plus add-on mistletoe) fewer side effects due to the usual chemo- and/or radiotherapy occured, as well as fewer disease-related symptoms. The general condition was better, the patients had significantly less hospital days (14 days less than control), and there was a significantly higher probability of survival (overall survival) than in the control group without mistletoe. In the section "Scientific Information", we have presented the results of this study in more detail.

In the section "Scientific Information" we have presented the results of these studies in detail. 


Last update: December 18th, 2020/ AT

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