Clinical Practice Guidelines

SIO is pleased to provide its updated clinical practice guidelines for breast cancer. In June 2018, ASCO announced endorsement of the guidelines. The guidelines were published in 2017. Researchers analyzed which integrative treatments are most effective and safe for patients with breast cancer. The guidelines are a resource for clinicians and patients to inform evidence-based decisions on the use of integrative therapies during breast cancer treatment. Researchers at US and Canadian institutions evaluated the efficacy and safety of more than 80 therapies.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monograph has  published a special issue co-sponsored by SIO, "Advancing the Global Impact of Integrative Oncology"; including a comprehensive definition for integrative oncology. The articles in the special Monograph were all peer-reviewed.

JACM Special Issue on Integrative Palliative Care- Call for papers deadline has been extended. Read more here


Journal Cover
The Official Journal of:
Society for Acupuncture Research

Paradigm, Practice, and Policy Advancing Integrative Health
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine

Special Focus Issue on Integrative Palliative Care


 iocenters 2673328 1280 BoardRoomImage

SIO 2020 Call for Board Nominations is Open

The Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) is accepting nominations from SIO members to fill anticipated vacancies on its Board of Trustees. SIO welcomes the nomination of individuals who are researchers, clinicians, clinical researchers, patients and patient advocates. The submission deadline is March 31, 2020.

Eligibility: To be eligible, candidates must meet the following criteria:
• Current SIO Member (or will join)
• Interested in and committed to advancing and maintaining the integrity of integrative oncology
• Willing to contribute at least 5-10 hours per month toward SIO activities
• Willing to participate in SIO advancement, including fund raising
• Willing to participate in the annual SIO conference (2020 conference will be held October 16-18 in Baltimore, MD)
• Willing to participate in teleconference call meetings every other month and attend and participate in one annual Board retreat and meeting at the SIO Conference. (The 2020 daylong retreat to be held October 15 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. in Baltimore, MD.)
• Willing to co-chair an SIO Committee, Task Force and/or Special Interest Group

Read complete details here.

SIO2019 Conference Video Presentations Available on VuMedi

As a resource to SIO conference attendees, presentations from SIO's 16th International Conference in NYC are now accessible through, a video hosting platform that posts content from a broad range of healthcare organizations and medical professionals.

There are a total of 29 videos available, which were recorded in Gramercy East/West conference room over the course of the three-day conference. The conference program is also available and downloadable through is a complimentary service, but you do need to join the site before viewing presentations. Please follow the link provided here and scroll to the bottom of the page to create your account. It may take up to one hour for your account profile to be accepted, and you will receive a notification via email. You will not be able to view the presentations until you have received the acceptance notification.For those who are already VuMedi members, simply sign in and enter Society for Integrative Oncology in the search bar.Oral abstracts and presentations are also available to conference attendees through the Member portal of the SIO website. These presentations are restricted to conference attendees for three months. We will make them available to the general membership in February 2020. 

April 2018

Bao T, Li SQ, Dearing JL, Piulson LA, Seluzicki CM, Sidlow R, et al.

Acupuncture versus medication for pain management: a cross-sectional study of breast cancer survivors

Acupunct Med 2018 Apr;36(2):80-87

AIM OF THE STUDY: Breast cancer survivors who take aromatase inhibitors (AI) often suffer from chronic pain. Emerging evidence supports the use of acupuncture as an effective pain management strategy for this condition, but its acceptability among cancer survivors is unknown. We evaluated breast cancer survivors' preferences for acupuncture as compared with medication use and identified factors predictive of this preference.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study among breast cancer survivors who were currently, or had been, taking an AI. The primary outcome was degree of preference for acupuncture as compared with medication for pain management. We conducted multivariate logistic regression analyses to evaluate the effects of socioeconomic status (SES) factors and health beliefs on treatment preference.

RESULTS: Among 592 participants, 160 (27.0%) preferred acupuncture, 153 (25.8%) preferred medication and 279 (47.1%) had no clear preference. In a multivariate analysis that only included SES, higher education and white race were significantly associated with greater preference for acupuncture. When health beliefs were added, SES effects were attenuated, while greater expectation of acupuncture's effect, lower perceived barriers to its use, higher social norm (endorsement from family members and healthcare professionals) related to acupuncture and higher holistic health beliefs were associated with greater preference for acupuncture.

CONCLUSION: We found similar rates of preference for acupuncture versus medication among breast cancer survivors for pain management. Specific attitudes and beliefs predicted such preferences, highlighting the importance of a patient-centred approach to align patient beliefs and preferences with therapeutic options for more effective pain management.




Hilfiker R, Meichtry A, Eicher M, Nilsson Balfe L, Knols RH, Verra ML, et al.

Exercise and other non-pharmaceutical interventions for cancer-related fatigue in patients during or after cancer treatment: a systematic review incorporating an indirect-comparisons meta-analysis.

Br J Sports Med 2018 May;52(10):651-658

AIM: To assess the relative effects of different types of exercise and other non-pharmaceutical interventions on cancer-related fatigue (CRF) in patients during and after cancer treatment. DESIGN: Systematic review and indirect-comparisons meta-analysis.

DATA SOURCES: Articles were searched in PubMed, Cochrane CENTRAL and published meta-analyses.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR SELECTING STUDIES: Randomised studies published up to January 2017 evaluating different types of exercise or other non-pharmaceutical interventions to reduce CRF in any cancer type during or after treatment.

STUDY APPRAISAL AND SYNTHESIS: Risk of bias assessment with PEDro criteria and random effects Bayesian network meta-analysis.

RESULTS: We included 245 studies. Comparing the treatments with usual care during cancer treatment, relaxation exercise was the highest ranked intervention with a standardized mean difference (SMD) of -0.77 (95% Credible Interval (CrI) -1.22 to -0.31), while massage (-0.78; -1.55 to -0.01), cognitive-behavioural therapy combined with physical activity (combined CBT, -0.72; -1.34 to -0.09), combined aerobic and resistance training (-0.67; -1.01 to -0.34), resistance training (-0.53; -1.02 to -0.03), aerobic (-0.53; -0.80 to -0.26) and yoga (-0.51; -1.01 to 0.00) all had moderate-to-large SMDs. After cancer treatment, yoga showed the highest effect (-0.68; -0.93 to -0.43). Combined aerobic and resistance training (-0.50; -0.66 to -0.34), combined CBT (-0.45; -0.70 to -0.21), Tai-Chi (-0.45; -0.84 to -0.06), CBT (-0.42; -0.58 to -0.25), resistance training (-0.35; -0.62 to -0.08) and aerobic (-0.33; -0.51 to -0.16) showed all small-to-moderate SMDs.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients can choose among different effective types of exercise and non-pharmaceutical interventions to reduce CRF.



Latte-Naor S, Sidlow R, Sun L, Li QS, Mao JJ

Influence of family on expected benefits of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in cancer patients.

Support Care Cancer 2018 Jun;26(6):2063-2069

BACKGROUND: Cancer patients often use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) based on recommendations from family. However, the relationship between family endorsement of CAM and the patient's expectation of its benefits has never been quantified.

METHODS: Between 2010 and 2011, we conducted a cross-sectional survey study among patients with a diagnosis of cancer recruited from thoracic, breast, and gastrointestinal medical oncology clinics at a single academic cancer center. We performed multivariate linear regression analyses to evaluate the relationship between perceived family endorsement of and expected benefits from CAM, adjusting for covariates.

RESULTS: Among the 962 participants, 303 (31.3%) reported family endorsement of CAM use. Younger patients and those who had college or higher education were more likely to report family endorsement (both p < 0.05). Patients with family support had expectation scores that were 15.9 higher than patients without family support (coefficient 15.9, 95% CI 13.5, 18.2, p < 0.001). Participants with family encouragement of CAM use were also more likely to expect CAM to cure their cancer (12 vs. 37%) and prolong their life (24 vs. 61%). These relationships remained highly significant after adjusting for covariates).

CONCLUSIONS: Family endorsement of CAM use is strongly associated with patient expectation of its clinical efficacy, including expectations for cure and improved survival. These findings underscore the importance of including family in counseling and education on CAM use in order to achieve realistic patient expectations, maximize benefits, and avoid potential medical adverse effects through herb-drug interactions or rejections of conventional care.



River J, McKenzie H, Levy D, Pavlakis N, Back M, Oh B.

Convergent priorities and tensions: a qualitative study of the integration of complementary and alternative therapies with conventional cancer treatment.

Support Care Cancer 2018 Jun;26(6):1791-1797

PURPOSE: Demand for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is high among cancer patients. This, alongside growing evidence for the efficacy of some CAM therapies, is driving change within cancer centres, where evidence-based CAM therapies are increasingly provided alongside standard cancer treatments. In Australia, commitment to equitable access to healthcare is strong, and some cancer centres are now providing integrative services at no cost to the patient. This represents a significant shift in healthcare provision. This study aimed to examine health professional and patient dynamics in an integrated cancer service where CAM is provided at no cost to patients alongside standard cancer treatments. It specifically sought to understand what might drive or hinder further integration of CAM with standard treatment in the cancer context.

METHODS: Qualitative interviews were undertaken with twenty key stakeholders-cancer patients, cancer nurses, and oncologists-who were delivering or receiving care in an Australian public hospital where acupuncture services are provided at no cost to patients alongside standard chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

RESULTS: Findings point to key areas where the concerns and priorities of cancer patients, cancer nurses, and oncologists converge and diverge in ways that reflect core personal and professional interests regarding patient care needs, the evidence base for CAM efficacy and safety, and rising healthcare costs.

CONCLUSIONS: Understanding points of convergence and divergence could assist clinicians and service providers in negotiating ways forward for integrative cancer services.



Shaw JM, Sekelja N, Frasca D, Dhillon HM, Price MA.

Being mindful of mindfulness interventions in cancer: A systematic review of intervention reporting and study methodology.

PsychoOncology 2018 Apr;27(4):1162-1171

OBJECTIVES: While mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) have demonstrated efficacy in clinical populations, the potential therapeutic benefit of mindfulness in the context of cancer is less clear. The aim of this review was to critically appraise mindfulness intervention reporting and study methodology.

METHODS: Studies using randomized control trial design and/or a control arm were included. PubMed, Medline, PsycINFO, CINAHL, and Embase databases between January 1999 and April 2017 were searched. Studies were assessed on (1) reported theoretical framework, (2) intervention description, and (3) justification of modifications to standardized MBSR/MBCT. The overall quality of study design and research methodology were also assessed.

RESULTS: Of 30 studies identified, none adhered to MBSR. Modified versions of MBSR were reported in 19 studies. Five studies reported variants of MBCT, 1 used a combination of MBSR/MBCT, and 5 inadequately documented the intervention/ theoretical framework. Overall, component and timeline modifications were poorly documented and justified. Mean intervention contact time was less than standardized MBSR/MBCT protocols. Target outcomes were poorly justified, and 12 studies failed to identify a primary aim, reporting multiple outcomes. Only 9 of 15 studies recruiting clinical populations included clinical cutoffs, and an active therapeutic control was included in 4 studies.

CONCLUSIONS: Mindfulness is increasingly considered a standard therapy in psycho-oncology. While many studies proclaim benefits, considerable variability, modification to standardized protocols, and claims of benefit often reflect decreases in sub-clinical supportive care symptomology rather than therapeutic relief of clinically significant psychological disorders.



Stomski NJ, Petterson A, Kristjanson L, Lobb EA, Phillips M, Williams A, et al.

The effect of self-selected complementary therapies on cancer patients' quality of life and symptom distress: A prospective cohort study in an integrative oncology setting.

Complement Ther Med 2018 Apr; 37:1-5 

OBJECTIVE: To examine the effectiveness of a multifaceted complementary therapies intervention, delivered in a systematic manner within an Australian public hospital setting, on quality of life and symptom distress outcomes for cancer patients.

METHODS: Adults receiving treatment for any form of cancer were eligible to participate in this study. Self-referred participants were offered a course of six complementary therapy sessions. Measures were administered at baseline, and at the third and sixth visit. The primary outcomes were quality of life and symptom distress. Linear mixed models were used to assess change in the primary outcomes.

RESULTS: In total, 1376 cancer patients participated in this study. The linear mixed models demonstrated that there were significant improvements in quality of life and significant reductions in symptom distress over six sessions. Body-based therapies demonstrated significantly superior improvement in quality of life over counselling, but no other differences between therapies were identified. Reduced symptom distress was not significantly associated with any particular type of therapy.

CONCLUSION: A self-selected complementary therapies intervention, provided in an Australian public hospital by accredited therapists, for cancer patients significantly improved quality of life and reduced symptom distress. The effect of this intervention on quality of life has particular salience, since cancer impacts on many areas of people's lives and impairs quality of life.



Hansra DM, McIntyre K, Ramdial J, Sacks S, Patrick CS…Ahn ER. 

Evaluation of how integrative oncology services are valued between hematology/oncology patients and hematologists/oncologists at a tertiary care center.

Evidence-Based Complement Alt Med 2018 Apr; 1-10

Evidence regarding opinions on integrative modalities by patients and physicians is lacking.

Methods: A survey study was conducted assessing how integrative modalities were valued among hematology/oncology patients and hematologists and oncologists at a major tertiary medical center.

Results: 1008 patients and 55 physicians were surveyed. With the exception of support groups, patients valued nutrition services, exercise therapy, spiritual/religious counseling, supplement/herbal advice, support groups, music therapy, and other complimentary medicine services significantly more than physicians.

Conclusion: With the exception of support groups, patients value integrative modalities more than physicians. Perhaps with increasing education, awareness, and acceptance by providers and traditional institutions, integrative modalities could be equally valued between patients and providers. It is possible that increased availability and utilization of integrative oncology modalities at tertiary hospital sites could improve patient satisfaction, quality of life, and other clinical endpoints.


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