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Chinese herbal product linked to cancer

TAIPEI, Taiwan, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Researchers in Taiwan recommend closely monitoring patients who have used a Chinese herbal product that may increase urinary tract cancer risk.

The National Taiwan University researchers made this recommendation after their study found a dose-dependent association between having been prescribed Mu Tong and urinary tract cancer.

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Dr. Jung-Der Wang of the Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, College of Public Health, said products such as MuTong may contain aristolochic acid and were banned in Taiwan in 2003 after clinical cases of urothelial cancer were associated with aristolochic acid use.

"In addition to a ban on products that contain any amount of aristolochic acid, we also recommend continued surveillance of herbs or Chinese herbal products that might be adulterated with aristolochic acid-containing herbs," the study authors said in statement. "Finally, patients with a history of aristolochic acid nephropathy or consumption of MuTong or Fangchi before they were banned should be monitored regularly for urinary cancer."

The study findings, published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute, were based on 4,594 patients who had been diagnosed with urinary tract cancer between in 2001-2002 and on a random sample of all insured patients made up of 174,701 people.

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