Department of Surgery, Yokohama City University.
Kampo medicine or Japanese/Chinese traditional herbal medicine has long been used for the treatment of various diseases, mainly in Asian countries. In recent years, Asian investigators have attempted to clarify the mechanism and clinical efficacy of Kampo medicine. This review summarizes the background, current status, and future perspectives of Kampo medicine in the multimodal treatment of gastrointestinal cancer. Regarding the clinical effect of Kampo medicine on postoperative dysfunction after gastrointestinal surgery, several investigators have reported that Daikenchuto (TJ-100) had clinical efficacy after abdominal digestive surgery. The administration of TJ-100 during the immediate postoperative period after esophageal cancer surgery, gastric cancer surgery, and liver cancer surgery appeared to promote early recovery of the postoperative bowel function. Regarding Kampo medicine for chemotherapy-induced adverse effects in gastrointestinal cancer, promising results have been obtained for Hangeshashinto (TJ-14) and Goshajinkigan (TJ-107). The addition of TJ-14 might be associated with an improvement in the duration of chemotherapy-induced oral mucositis, and the addition of TJ-107 might be associated with an improvement in oxaliplatin-induced peripheral neurotoxicity. However, while several clinical trials have shown the positive results of Kampo medication for gastrointestinal cancer treatment, the clinical effects of such medicines have been limited. Further trials to investigate the clinical benefits of Kampo medicine are needed.
Keywords: Kampo medicine, gastrointestinal cancer, surgery, chemotherapy