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child, complementary therapies, nausea, neoplasm, vomiting



  1. Kamkhoad, Donruedee
  2. Cho, Youngmin
  3. Santacroce, Sheila Judge


Background: As with pharmacological management approaches, characteristics of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) interventions for managing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in children with cancer should be considered when developing and testing these interventions and reporting the outcomes.


Objectives: This systematic scoping review aimed to identify gaps and weaknesses in CAM and integrative interventions studies to prevent and manage CINV in children being treated for cancer, according to the CINV biological pathways.


Methods: This systematic scoping review was conducted under the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews guideline. Included studies were published in English before May 2020 and examined the effects of integrative interventions on CINV in children being treated for cancer. Two authors performed computerized searches and manual reviews; these authors also extracted data about study characteristics, intervention characteristics, and CINV outcomes from the studies included in the review.


Results: Twenty-six studies of 29 CAM interventions met eligibility criteria. Most of these studies used randomized controlled trial designs and measured CINV outcomes at least once prior to and then after the intervention. Some studies did not explicate the interval between exposure to the intervention and outcome measurements. The CAM interventions studied included 15 cognitive-behavioral interventions, 8 acupoint stimulation interventions, 5 herb/supplementation interventions, and 1 educational intervention. One study tested two CAMs and clarified the underlying biological pathways, whereas 25 studies (27 CAMs) did not illustrate pathways; the pathways were deduced from information provided in the articles.


Discussion: Considering the biological pathways underlying CINV while developing integrative interventions, including the CAM component, could improve intervention efficacy. Measurement of biomarkers of activity in these pathways would provide a means to test whether changes in underlying pathways mediate change in CINV. Better reporting of intervention details and study processes is needed to support replication of CAM interventions and inform translation into clinical practice.