Chinese Medicine Treatment Prolonged Survival in Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients: A Clinical Observation



To evaluate the effect of Chinese medicine (CM) treatment on survival time and quality of life (QOL) in patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC).


This was an exploratory and prospective clinical observation. Patients diagnosed with SCLC receiving CM treatment were included and followed up every 3 months. The primary outcome was overall survival (OS), and the secondary outcomes were progression-free survival (PFS) and QOL.


A total of 136 patients including 65 limited-stage SCLC (LS-SCLC) patients and 71 extensive-stage SCLC (ES-SCLC) patients were analyzed. The median OS of ES-SCLC patients was 17.27 months, and the median OS of LS-SCLC was 40.07 months. The survival time was 16.27 months for SCLC patients with brain metastasis, 9.83 months for liver metastasis, 13.43 months for bone metastasis, and 18.13 months for lung metastasis. Advanced age, pleural fluid, liver and brain metastasis were risk factors, while longer CM treatment duration was a protective factor. QOL assessment indicated that after 6 months of CM treatment, scores increased in function domains and decreased in symptom domains.


CM treatment might help prolong OS of SCLC patients. Moreover, CM treatment brought the trend of symptom amelioration and QOL improvement. These results provide preliminary evidence for applying CM in SCLC multi-disciplinary treatment.

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Author information




Xu XQ was responsible for study execution and drafting the manuscript; Deng WQ and Li M were responsible for data acquisition; Wang DY conducted data analysis; Kou DL drafted the manuscript; Zhang PT raised the study concept and design, and revised the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Pei-tong Zhang.

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Conflict of Interest

All authors report no conflict of interest.

Surpported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81673797), and Beijing Municipal Natural Science Foundation (No. 7182142)

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Xu, X., Deng, W., Wang, D. et al. Chinese Medicine Treatment Prolonged Survival in Small Cell Lung Cancer Patients: A Clinical Observation. Chin. J. Integr. Med. (2020).

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  • small cell lung cancer
  • Chinese medicine
  • survival time
  • follow-up
  • quality of life