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Summary of the Evidence for PC-SPES

    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 that a meaningful evaluation can be made.

    The lack of consistent composition of PC-SPES due to varying concentrations of adulterants makes it difficult to determine the effects of PC-SPES in humans; therefore, no level of evidence analysis is possible for this treatment. At this time, the use of PC-SPES as a treatment for cancer cannot be recommended outside the context of well-designed clinical trials.

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    Study Design Categories, Definitions, and Levels of Evidence

    Prospective, randomized, controlled trials and meta-analyses of prospective, randomized, controlled trials. The randomized, double-blinded, controlled trial is the gold standard of study design. To achieve this ranking, the study allocation must be blinded to the investigator both before and after the randomization and the assignment to intervention group. This design provides protection from allocation bias by the investigator and from bias in the assessment of outcomes by both the...

    Read the Study Design Categories, Definitions, and Levels of Evidence article > >

    For additional information about levels of evidence analysis, refer to Levels of Evidence for Human Studies of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

      WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

      Last Updated: February 25, 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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