Network meta-analysis of Chinese herbal injections combined with the chemotherapy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer

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This study sought to use a network meta-analysis to assess the effectiveness and safety of Chinese herbal injections (CHIs) combined with the chemotherapy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.


Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) regarding CHIs to treat pancreatic cancer were searched in PubMed, the Cochrane library, Embase, the China National Knowledge Infrastructure Database (CNKI), the Wan-Fang Database, the Chinese Scientific Journals Full-text Database (VIP), and the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (SinoMed) up to November 2016. The quality assessment was conducted by the Cochrane risk of bias tool and network meta-analysis was performed to compare the effectiveness and safety of different CHIs combined with the chemotherapy. Data were analyzed using STATA 12.0 and Win-BUGS 1.4 software.


A total of 278 records were searched, and 22 eligible RCTs involving 1329 patients and 9 CHIs were included. The results of the network meta-analysis demonstrated that compared with the chemotherapy alone, Compound Kushen, Kangai or Kanglaite injection combined with chemotherapy yielded significantly higher probability of improving performance status. Aidi injection combined with chemotherapy was more effective in relieving leucopenia than using chemotherapy single. And these between-group differences were statistically significant. However, CHIs combined with chemotherapy could not achieve a better effect in the total clinical effect, nausea and vomiting. As for the cluster analysis for the adverse reactions (ADRs), the chemotherapy alone and Huachansu injection combined with the chemotherapy were inferior to relieve ADRs than the other CHIs plus chemotherapy for patients with pancreatic cancer.


The current evidence showed that using CHIs on the basis of the chemotherapy could be beneficial for patients with pancreatic cancer in improving performance status and reducing the ADRs.

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