Center of Integrative Medicine, Beijing Ditan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Objective: As immune combination therapy in the treatment of liver cancer made significant achievements, and the modulating effect of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) on immunity gradually appeared. The main purpose of this study was to study the effect of different TCM combined with systemic therapy (ST) on immune regulation in patients with liver cancer, as well as the efficacy and safety of combined therapy, and to find the best combined application scheme by ranking.
Methods: Nine electronic databases were searched from January 1, 2010, to November 12, 2021, to search for RCTs of TCM combined ST in the field of liver cancer for literature screening, quality evaluation and data extraction. STATA 15.0 and RevMan 5.3 software were used to conduct network meta-analysis to analyze and explore the significance of TCM combined ST in immune regulation, efficacy and safety in clinical application. The probability value of the surface under the cumulative ranking curve was used to rank the processing studied.
Results: A total of 25 studies involving 2,152 participants were included in the network meta-analysis, including six traditional Chinese medicine injections and seven proprietary Chinese medicines. The results showed that Dahuang Zhechong Wan and Kangai injection combined with ST were the best choices for immune regulation. Moreover, the Huaier granule was the best choice to reduce vascular endothelial growth factors.
Conclusion: For patients with liver cancer, TCM combined with ST was better than that of ST alone and can significantly improve the immune function of patients as well as the efficacy and safety of treatment. However, given the limited sample size and methodological quality of the trials that we included in our study, more centralized and randomized controlled trials with a large sample size are required to verify our findings.
Keywords: Traditional Chinese Medicine, systemic therapy, immunoregulation, liver cancer, randomized controlled trials, network meta-analysis.