Background: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is widely used for cancer treatment in China. Many support its use in treatment for cancer, yet scientific evidence for the effect of TCM needs to be established. Material and Methods: In this review case reports on cancer patients treated by TCM therapies are included. Search runs were conducted in 4 main Chinese databases till December 2009. Results: A total of 716 reports involving 1,198 cancer patients were identified and summarized. Top 5 of the reported cancers treated with TCM were lung cancer (14.44%; 173 patients), leukemia (14.11%; 169 patients), stomach cancer (10.85%; 130 patients), liver cancer (10.18%; 122 patients) and esophageal cancer (7.35%; 88 patients). In the majority of cases (66.44%; 772) combined treatments of Chinese and conventional medicine were applied. The use of herbal medicine was highly prevalent (98.50%; 1,168 patients), and the typical administration was an individually tailored treatment according to the pattern differentiation of symptoms (74.21%; 889 patients); the use of acupuncture was relatively rare (1.8%; 22 patients). Symptom improvement was the most frequently reported outcome (84.72%; 1,015 patients). Only 15 studies (2.1%) were structurally reported. Detailed information on patients’ demography, pathologically confirmed diagnosis and safety was given in 275 (22.95%), 692 (57.76%) and 10 (0.83%) reports, respectively. Conclusion: The amount of information from case reports of TCM therapies in cancer is rich and can be valuable for the preliminary evaluation of TCM and for the planning of further clinical trials in cancer treatment. However, the quality of the reports was generally poor and we recommend that case reports should be published in a structured manner.

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