Bradt J, Dileo C, Grocke D, Magill L. Music interventions for improving psychological and physical outcomes in cancer patients. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Aug 10;(8):CD006911.
This systematic review involving 30 clinical trials and 1891 subjects was conducted to compare the effects of music therapy or music medicine interventions and standard care with standard care alone, or standard care and other interventions in improving psychological and physical outcomes in patients with cancer. Databases used for the review included the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) Cochrane Library 2010, Issue 10), MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, LILACS, Science Citation Index, CancerLit, www.musictherapyworld.net
, CAIRSS, Proquest Digital Dissertations, ClinicalTrials.gov, Current Controlled Trials, and the National Research Register.
Results indicate beneficial effects of music on anxiety, pain, mood, and quality of life in cancer patients. However, the authors point to the lack of a robust study design in several trials included in the review. Additional studies with strong methodology are needed to establish use of music therapy.
Cassileth BR, et al. Music therapy for mood disturbance during hospitalization for autologous stem cell transplantation: a randomized controlled trial. Cancer 2003;98(12):2723-9.
This study involved 69 patients with hematologic malignancy scheduled to undergo high-dose therapy with autologous stem cell transplantation (HDT/ASCT), a procedure that causes significant psychological distress. Patients were randomized to receive music therapy given by trained music therapists or standard care. Patients who received music therapy reported less mood disturbance compared to the control group. Researchers suggest that music therapy can be used as an effective intervention to reduce mood disturbance in patients undergoing HDT/ASCT.
Hilliard RE. The effects of music therapy on the quality and length of life of people diagnosed with terminal cancer. J Music Ther 2003;40(2):113-37.
Eighty patients with terminal cancer were randomly assigned in this study to receive music therapy or routine care. All participants received at least two visits and quality of life assessments. Patients who received music therapy experienced increased quality of life compared to those who received only routine care. Although there were no significant differences between the two groups in physical functioning or length of life, music therapy improved the quality of life in patients with terminal cancer.