Patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) who were treated with certain integrative medicine (IM) therapies had lower levels of negative symptoms and reported a higher quality of life (QOL). These findings, from an online survey, were published in Cancer Medicine.

For this study, 858 patients with MPNs were recruited by researchers at the Mayo Clinic Arizona through social media and email during 2016. Patients were assessed by the MPN-Symptom Assessment Form Total Symptom Score (MPN-SAF TSS), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-2, Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI) Usual, and for quality of life.

More than 2 dozen IM therapies were reported, including multiple forms of exercise, massage, nutrition, meditation, and several types of physical, group, and psychological therapies.

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Lower average MPN-SAF TSS scores were reported by patients who participated in aerobic exercise (33.2 vs 39.7; P <.001) and strength training (34.0 vs 37.7; P =.013).

Mean QOL was reported as higher among patients who received massage (5.0 vs 4.6; P =.04) and went to support groups (5.4 vs 4.6; P =.002).

The likelihood of experiencing symptoms of depression was lower among patients who participated in aerobic exercise (odds ratio [OR], 0.60; 95% CI, 0.42-0.86; P =.006), yoga (OR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.39-0.94; P =.025), and strength training (OR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.37-0.91; P =.019).

This study may have been limited by its overwhelming gender bias, in which the ratio of women to men was 3:1.

The study authors concluded that in addition to pharmacologic therapies, IM therapies may aid in alleviating negative symptoms of MPN and increase quality of life.

Disclosure: Multiple authors declared affiliations with industry. Please refer to the original article for a full list of disclosures.


Gowin K, Langlais BT, Kosiorek HE, et al. The SIMM study: survey of integrative medicine in myeloproliferative neoplasms. Cancer Med. Published online November 3, 2020. doi:10.1002/cam4.3566

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor