Cancer-related cachexia, a condition in which the body is consumed by deranged carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism
that is induced by inflammatory cytokines. Cachexia is associated with poor treatment outcome, fatigue and poor quality of life. Pharmacological
intervention in the treatment and/or prevention of cachexia has been mainly aimed at the use of appetite enhancers to increase
oral nutritional intake so far. Herbal remedies are part of traditional and folk healing methods with long histories of use. In this report, we
have assessed which herbal approaches have had associated cancer cachexia case reports. Commonly used herbal medicines in western
countries include essiac, iscador, pau d’arco tea, cannabinoids and so on. Some Kampo herbs and formulations are commonly used by
cancer patients reduce the side effects and complications during the antitumor therapy. The relevant herbal medicines include ginseng, C.
rhizome and radix astragali, and the related herbal remedies, such as TJ-48, TJ-41, PHY906 and Rikkunshito. However, there still have
some adverse effects caused or amplified by herb and drug interactions that are difficult to separate. However, randomized effectiveness
of herbal medicines shall be further identified in controlled clinical trials involving cancer patients with cachexia.
Keywords: Cancer-related cachexia, cancer cachexia treatment, insulin resistance, proinflammatory cytokines, food intake, chinese herbs, cannabinoids, antitumor therapy, Rikkunshito, clinical trials.
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