Complementary and integrative treatments, such as massage, acupuncture, and yoga, are used by increasing numbers of cancer patients to manage symptoms and improve their quality of life. In addition, such treatments may have other important and currently overlooked benefits by reducing tissue stiffness and improving mobility. Recent advances in cancer biology are underscoring the importance of connective tissue in the local tumor environment. Inflammation and fibrosis are well recognized contributors to cancer, and connective tissue stiffness is emerging as a driving factor in tumor growth. Physical-based therapies have been shown to reduce connective tissue inflammation and fibrosis and thus may have direct beneficial effects on cancer spreading and metastasis. Meanwhile, there is currently little knowledge on potential risks of applying mechanical forces in the vicinity of tumors. Thus, both basic and clinical research are needed to understand the full impact of integrative oncology on cancer biology as well as whole person health.
Cancer Res; 1–4.2016 AACR