Mistletoe therapy for gastric cancer


Quality of life, immunomodulation and safety of adjuvant mistletoe therapy in patients with gastric cancer – a prospective, randomised, controlled pilot study

Kim et al. 2012 [87]

Patients and methods

In this prospective, randomised, controlled pilot study, it was to be determined if add-on mistletoe therapy could improve quality of life and immunomodulatory capacity in patients with gastric cancer and also whether it is safe. It was carried out on 32 Korean post-surgery patients at stage Ib or II who received chemotherapy with capecitabine (oral 5-FU prodrug) on a 1:1 randomised basis.

One group received abnobaVISCUM Quercus in addition to chemotherapy, the other group received chemotherapy alone. Mistletoe therapy began on the seventh day after surgery; the extract was injected subcutaneously three times a week in increasing doses, starting with 0.01 mg to 20 mg. The duration of treatment was 24 weeks. 

Quality of life was determined at baseline and 8, 16 and 24 weeks later, respectively, using the EORTC QLQ-C30 and STO22 gastric cancer module of EORTC in the validated Korean version. At the same time, differential blood count, liver function tests and different cytokine levels (TNF-alpha, IL-2, CD16+/CD56+ and CD19+ lymphocytes) were recorded.


The general state of health improved significantly in the treatment group (p < 0.01). The number of leukocytes and eosinophils (p ≤ 0.01) also increased significantly in the treatment group compared to the control group. No significant differences in cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-2, CD16+/CD56+ and CD19+ lymphocytes) was observed between both groups. 

Significantly fewer patients in the mistletoe therapy group suffered from diarrhoea than in the control group (7% versus 50%, p = 0.014).

Mistletoe therapy was well tolerated in all cases.


Additional treatment with mistletoe extracts is safe and significantly improves quality of life. In addition, leukocytes and eosinophils increase during add-on mistletoe treatment.

It is remarkable that severe diarrhoea, which frequently occurs as a gastrointestinal side effect of capecitabine, was almost absent in the mistletoe group of this study.


Go to Heaven