|dc.description.abstract||According to World Health Organization report, cancer is the number one cause of mortality worldwide. Most cancers develop because of mutations in genes. Many environmental risk factors increase mutations, leading people to cancer. DNA mutations maybe passed from parent to child. For example, cancers of the breast, ovary and colon sometimes run in families. In addition, the most important risk factor for cancer is growing older. Moreover, tobacco use, UV light, ionizing radiation, certain viruses, or other factors in person’s lifestyle or environment can cause mutations in cells. Over time, cells become cancerous after mutations accumulate in the various genes that control cell proliferation.
In 2011, Douglas Hanahan and Robert A. Weinberg published a review article, identifying 10 hallmarkss features in the carcinogenic process. For example, evading growth suppressors, sustaining proliferative signaling and inducing angiogenesis are important hallmarks. Cells acquired hallmark capabilities for tumor growth and progression. These hallmarks have provided a useful conceptual framework for understanding the complex biology of cancer. For clinical trials, people can be treated with a combination of drugs to against each of the capabilities.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a system of theories and therapies in ancient Chinese, dating back 2100 years. According to TCM theories, an imbalance in the individual’s body can cause disease. TCM practitioners usually make diagnosis, called Zheng, by observation, inquiry, smelling/listening, and palpation. After the individual’s Zheng is determined, a TCM prescription is made.
In our study, we analyzed 187,230 TCM prescriptions to 30 types of cancer in Taiwan in 2007. The big data was retrieved from the National Health Insurance reimbursement database (Taiwan). We found that one TCM cancer prescription consist of two formulas and four herbs on average. We found the percentage weights of TCM formulas and herbs in one prescription allow the Zipf’s law with an exponent 0.6. We also found prescriptions for benign tumors have a larger Zipf’s exponent than prescription for malignant cancers. Furthermore, we found the combinations of formulas and herbs are specific to sites of origins of cancers. From the TCM functions of dominant formulas and natural of dominant herbs, we found that cancers are a ‘warm and stagnant’ syndrome in TCM perspective. We show that cancer patients with a secondary morbidity, stomach disorder and sleep disturbance, were prescript by peptic and tranquilizing formulas, respectively. We also analyzed TCM prescriptions by seasons and identified that temperature drop correlates with changes in TCM prescriptions in Taiwan.
Furthermore, we analyzed prescriptions for individual cancers. Top 12 formulas and 12 herbs were identified. In addition, we identified the most common combinations between formulas and herbs, formulas and formulas, and herbs and herbs for each cancer. As an example, for uterine leiomyoma, the most common combination is Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan (carbuncle treating) and Jia Wei Xiao Yao San (mediating). The findings of our study provide insight to TCM cancer treatment, helping a dialogue between modern western medicine and TCM for better cancer care.||en_US|