Immunologic response to mistletoe extract (Viscum album L.) after conventional treatment in patients with operable breast cancer

Gil Soo Son, Woo Sang Ryu, Hoon Yub Kim, Sang Uk Woo, Kyong Hwa Park, Jeoung Won Bae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To reduce the side effects and improve the effectiveness of standard chemoradiation therapy, many complementary or alternative medicines have been tried. However, little is known about its immunologic effects in breast cancer patients. The aim of this study was to assess the immunologic effects of mistletoe extract (Viscum album L., VAE) in patients with early breast cancer after surgery followed by standard adjuvant chemoradiation therapy. Methods: A total 20 patients with early breast cancer treated with breast conserving surgery followed conventional chemoradiation therapy. Ten of these patients received subcutaneous injections of VAE for 7 weeks. IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, TGF-β, and IFN-γ levels in serum samples were measured in all patients. Results: The concentrations of IL-2, IL 4, IL-10, and TGF-β were not significantly changed between before and after VAE treatment in both test and control group. The concentration of IL-6 in the test group was increased from 8.19±1.75 pg/mL to 9.86±1.46 pg/mL after treatment (p=0.013). The concentration of IFN-γ in the test group was remarkably increased from 91.76±17.16 pg/mL to 167.42±66.61 pg/mL after treatment (p=0.009). Conclusion: Significant increases in the concentration of IL-6 and IFN-γ were observed after VAE treatment. These results suggest that VAE treatment can stimulate immune responses, especially cell mediated immunity in immune-compromised patients received the chemoradiation for breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-18
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Breast Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Immunology
  • Mistletoe
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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