Combination Therapy of Gefitinib and Korean Herbal Medicines Could be a Beneficial Option for Patients with Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

  • Lee, Kangwook (Department of Clinical Oncology, Cheonan Korean Medical Hospital, Daejeon University) ;
  • Ryu, Juyoung (Department of Clinical Oncology, Cheonan Korean Medical Hospital, Daejeon University) ;
  • Son, Chang-Gue (Liver and Immunology Research Center, Daejeon Korean Medical Hospital, Daejeon University) ;
  • Cho, Jung-Hyo (Liver and Immunology Research Center, Daejeon Korean Medical Hospital, Daejeon University) ;
  • Yoo, Hwa-Seung (East West Cancer Center, Dunsan Korean Medical Hospital, Daejeon University) ;
  • Lee, Jonghoon (Department of Integrative Cancer Center, Woosuk Korean Medicine Hospital, Woosuk University) ;
  • Kim, Yoon-sik (Department of Internal Medicine, Cheonan Korean Medical Hospital, Daejeon University) ;
  • Lee, Namhun (Department of Clinical Oncology, Cheonan Korean Medical Hospital, Daejeon University)
  • Received : 2016.07.06
  • Accepted : 2016.07.27
  • Published : 2016.09.30


Lung cancer has a high mortality rate and is often diagnosed at the metastatic stage. Gefitinib is a targeted molecular therapeutic drug used to treat patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Korean herbal medicines may also have therapeutic efficacy against lung cancer, reduce the side effects associated with chemotherapy, and improve patient quality of life (QOL). This case report describes the effects of a Korean herbal medicine regimen combined with gefitinib in a patient with NSCLC and bone metastasis. The Korean herbal medicine regimen included woohwanggeosa-dan, hwanggibujeong-dan and geonchilgyebok-jeong. The computed tomography (CT) findings showed that following combination treatment, the size of the tumor was markedly decreased without serious adverse events. Moreover, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status was improved and cancer-related pain was decreased. These results suggest that a combination of Korean herbal medicines and gefitinib may be an effective therapeutic option for patients with advanced NSCLC and bone metastasis. Further studies are needed to examine the mechanism and the clinical efficacy of Korean herbal medicines against NSCLC.


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