A Cochrane review of mistletoe therapy concludes that there is some evidence that mistletoe extracts may offer benefits on measures of quality of life during chemotherapy for breast cancer, but these results need replication. Our aim was to test the feasibility of a placebo controlled, double blind randomised controlled trial of mistletoe therapy in patients with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy.
A placebo controlled, double blind randomised controlled trial of mistletoe therapy in patients with breast cancer. There will be three arms (groups) in the trial: Iscador M, Iscador P, with physiological saline as the placebo. The aim is to recruit 45 adult patients with a new diagnosis of early or locally advanced breast cancer, up to 12 weeks following definitive breast surgery whose standard treatment plan includes chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy. They will be taught to administer the MAB therapies subcutaneously and will titrate up to their optimal dose. MAB therapy will continue throughout their standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy and one month beyond. The main outcome of the MAB study is the feasibility of conducting such a trial within the NHS in order to inform a future fully powered investigative trial. Feasibility will be measured through recruitment, retention and patient experience using clinical research forms, patient diaries, cancer-related questionnaires and qualitative interviews conducted with both patients and oncology staff.
This trial is the first of its kind in the UK. Currently mistletoe therapy is mostly available through private practice in the UK. Completion of this feasibility study will support applications for further funding for a fully powered randomised controlled trial which will measure effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of this herbal therapy.