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Milk Thistle (PDQ®): Complementary and alternative medicine - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Summary of the Evidence for Milk Thistle

To assist readers in evaluating the results of human studies of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments for cancer, the strength of the evidence (i.e., the levels of evidence) associated with each type of treatment is provided whenever possible. To qualify for a level of evidence analysis, a study must:

  • Be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
  • Report on therapeutic outcome or outcomes, such as tumor response, improvement in survival, or measured improvement in quality of life.
  • Describe clinical findings in sufficient detail for a meaningful evaluation to be made.

Separate levels of evidence scores are assigned to qualifying human studies on the basis of statistical strength of the study design and scientific strength of the treatment outcomes (i.e., endpoints) measured. The resulting two scores are then combined to produce an overall score. A level of evidence score cannot be assigned to milk thistle because there has been insufficient clinical research to date. For an explanation of the scores and additional information about levels of evidence analysis of CAM treatments for cancer, refer to Levels of Evidence for Human Studies of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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Overview

Antineoplastons are chemical compounds that are found normally in urine and blood. For use in medical research, antineoplastons can be made from chemicals in a laboratory. (See Question 1.) Antineoplaston therapy was developed by Dr. S. R. Burzynski, who proposed the use of antineoplastons as a possible cancer treatment in 1976. (See Question 2.) No randomized, controlled trials showing the effectiveness of antineoplastons have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. (See Question...

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Given the limited amount of human data, the use of milk thistle/silymarin as a treatment for cancer patients cannot be recommended outside the context of well-designed clinical trials.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: September 04, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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