Retrospective Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2016. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Clin Cases. Oct 16, 2016; 4(10): 310-317
Published online Oct 16, 2016. doi: 10.12998/wjcc.v4.i10.310
Efficacy of Japanese traditional (Kampo) medicine for treating chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: A retrospective case series study
Yumiko Kimata, Keiko Ogawa, Hideki Okamoto, Atsushi Chino, Takao Namiki
Yumiko Kimata, Hideki Okamoto, Takao Namiki, Department of Japanese-Oriental (Kampo) Medicine, Chiba University School of Medicine, Chiba 260-8670, Japan
Keiko Ogawa, Department of Japanese-Traditional (Kampo) Medicine, Kanazawa University Hospital, Ishikawa 920-8641, Japan
Atsushi Chino, Department of Japanese-Oriental (Kampo) Medicine, Chiba Central Medical Center, Chiba 264-0017, Japan
Author contributions: Kimata Y, Ogawa K and Okamoto H designed the report, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper; Chino A and Namiki T collected the patients’ clinical data and supervised the paper.
Institutional review board statement: This case report was exempt from the Ethics Committee of Chiba University Hospital.
Informed consent statement: This is a retrospective case series study. There was no way to get touch with all patients involved in this study so we had been notifying them of this study on our department’s website.
Conflict-of-interest statement: Kimata Y, Ogawa K, Okamoto H, and Namiki T got a grant as Research Support from Tsumua Co. Atsushi Chino has no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this paper.
Data sharing statement: No additional data are available.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Hideki Okamoto, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Japanese-Oriental (Kampo) Medicine, Chiba University School of Medicine, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.
Telephone: +81-43-2262984 Fax: +81-43-2262985
Received: April 27, 2016
Peer-review started: April 28, 2016
First decision: June 16, 2016
Revised: July 14, 2016
Accepted: August 6, 2016
Article in press: August 8, 2016
Published online: October 16, 2016

To investigate Japanese traditional (Kampo) medicine’s effectiveness on cancer chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), we carried out this retrospective study.


By searching our outpatient database of 3154 patients who consulted our outpatient clinic of Japanese-Oriental (Kampo) Medicine at Chiba University Hospital from November 2005 to December 2010, a total of 281 patients diagnosed with cancer were identified. Twenty-four patients out of the 281 patients identified met the following three conditions and were eligible for further investigation of the effectiveness of Kampo treatment: At least one course of cancer chemotherapy had been administered; numbness and pain appeared after the chemotherapy; and CIPN was diagnosed before they were given Kampo treatment.


The 24 patients included 6 males and 18 females and ranged in age from 39 to 86 (mean 61.2 ± 11.5) years old. Kampo formulas were individually chosen by Kampo expert doctors based on Kampo-specific diagnostics. Beneficial outcomes were obtained by Kampo treatment in 20 out of the 24 cases (83.3%). Nine out 20 cases had a major response (the numbness and pain showed improvement or reduction by 50% or more), with 7 of 9 cases showing a more than 70% symptom reduction. Eleven out of 20 cases showed a minor response (less than 50% symptom reduction), and 4 out of the 24 cases had no beneficial response. The most frequently used formula was goshajinkigan (GJG), followed by hachimijiogan (HJG) and keishibukuryogan. Thirteen of the 24 cases (54.2%) were prescribed aconite root-containing formulas including GJG and HJG. Aconite root has “warming” effects and ameliorates pain and numbness; 21 out of 24 cases (87.5%) in total used warming formulas such as aconite root-containing formulas to reduce CIPN.


Our current study suggested that Kampo formulas chosen based on Kampo-specific diagnostics could be for treating CIPN that is refractory to conventional medicine.

Keywords: Asian medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine, Goshajinkigan, Keishibukuryogan, Hachimijiogan

Core tip: Our single-institution 5-year retrospective case series study revealed that Japanese traditional (Kampo) medicine was beneficial in 83.3% of patients with cancer chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy that is refractory to conventional medicine. The most frequently used formula was goshajinkigan, followed by hachimijiogan and keishibukuryogan.