Complementary therapy use in patients with glioma: An observational study

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • O. Heese - , University of Hamburg (Author)
  • M. Schmidt - , University of Hamburg (Author)
  • S. Nickel - , University of Hamburg (Author)
  • H. Berger - , Leipzig University (Author)
  • R. Goldbrunner - , Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Author)
  • J. C. Tonn - , Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (Author)
  • O. Bähr - , University Hospital Frankfurt (Author)
  • J. P. Steinbach - , University Hospital Frankfurt (Author)
  • M. Simon - , University of Bonn (Author)
  • J. Schramm - , University of Bonn (Author)
  • D. Krex - , Department of Neurosurgery, Dresden University of Technology (Author)
  • G. Schackert - , Dresden University of Technology (Author)
  • T. Reithmeier - , University of Freiburg (Author)
  • G. Nikkhah - , University of Freiburg (Author)
  • M. Löffler - , Leipzig University (Author)
  • M. Weller - , University of Zurich (Author)
  • M. Westphal - , University of Hamburg (Author)


Objective: Despite novel multimodal therapeutic approaches, the vast majority of glial tumors are not curable. Patients may search for complementary therapies in order to contribute to the fight against their disease or to relieve symptoms induced by their brain tumor. The extent of the use of complementary or alternative therapies, the patients' rationale behind it, and the cost of complementary therapy for gliomas are not known. We used a questionnaire and the database of the German Glioma Network to evaluate these questions. Methods: A total of 621 questionnaires were available for evaluation from patients with glial tumors of WHO grades II to grade IV. The patients were recruited from 6 neuro-oncologic centers in Germany. Complementary therapy was defined as methods or compounds not used in routine clinical practice and not scientifically evaluated. Results: Forty percent of the responding patients reported the use of complementary therapies. Significant differences between the group of complementary therapy users and nonusers were seen with respect to age (younger > older), gender (female > male), and education (high education level > low education level). The motivation for complementary therapy use was not driven by unsatisfactory clinical care by the neuro-oncologists, but by the wish to add something beneficial to the standard of care. Conclusions: In clinical practice, patients' use of complementary therapies may be largely overseen and underestimated. The major motivation is not distrust in conventional therapies. Neuro-oncologists should be aware of this phenomenon and encourage an open but critical dialogue with their patients.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2229-2235
Number of pages7
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2010

External IDs

Scopus 78650829482
PubMed 21172846


ASJC Scopus subject areas