The study involved 50 children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) who were suffering from liver toxicity related to chemotherapy. All kids were randomly assigned to receive milk thistle or placebo for duration of 28 days.
The researchers measured the level of liver enzymes aspartate amino transferase (AST) and amino alanine transferase (ALT) before the study began and 28 days after the study ended. Children who had received milk thistle showed marked improvement in the level of their liver enzymes.
"This is the first randomized, controlled clinical study to investigate the feasibility and safety of the herbal plant milk thistle in combination with the administration of chemotherapy in children undergoing treatment for cancer," the researchers wrote.
The details appear in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society.