Creating a First-of-Its-Kind Integrative Oncology Program at City of Hope


Edward S. Kim, MD, MBA, and Richard T. Lee, MD discuss how integrative oncology techniques such as acupuncture have impacted patient quality of life at their practice.

CancerNetwork® collaborated with OncLive® to speak with Edward S. Kim, MD, MBA, and Richard T. Lee, MD, about ongoing initiatives to expand integrative oncology for patients with cancer at City of Hope.

Kim is the physician-in-chief and senior vice president at City of Hope Orange County as well as the Construction Industries Alliance City of Hope Orange County physician-in-chief chair. Lee is the Cherng Family Director’s Chair of the Center for Integrative Oncology and a medical director of Supportive & Integrative Medicine in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine as well as a clinical professor of Supportive & Integrative Medicine at City of Hope.

The discussion partly focused on how integrative oncology is practiced at City of Hope. The institution’s style of integrative care derives inspiration from traditional Eastern medicine and encompasses modalities such as acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and massages to help treat patients with cancer more holistically. Lee cited updates in integrative therapy guidelines published by the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) in partnership with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to illustrate how integrative care can benefit patient quality of life.1 For example, he highlighted that there was strong evidence in support of implementing mindfulness-based interventions to help reduce anxiety and stress among patients.

“These types of integrative therapies are a great way to complement many of the standard-of-care options that we have and provide even further benefit in controlling these symptoms and allowing patients to have a better quality of life as they go through treatment and as they head into survivorship,” Lee said.

The conversation also pertained to the institution’s efforts to expand the Cherng Family Center for Integrative Oncology, a first-of-its-kind national integrative oncology program, following receipt of a $100 million gift from Andrew and Peggy Cherng, co-founders and co-chief executive officers at Panda Express, supporting its creation.2 This initiative will include conducting rigorous research in a clinical program that may inform future integrative oncology guidelines, pursuing natural product drug development, and instituting educational programs that may train future integrative oncologists.

"The only way we're going to be able to increase access to these important programs to more people is to do the rigorous, level 1 research that’s needed in order to prove that there is a benefit of any particular area,” Kim said. “Because if we’re rigorous and we show the results are positive, then we would expect them to be on the guidelines like the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and then payers would then provide support to patients who want to have these services.”


  1. Carlson LE, Ismaila N, Addington EL, et al. Integrative oncology care of symptoms of anxiety and depression in adults with cancer: Society for Integrative Oncology–ASCO guideline. J Clin Oncol. 2023;41(28):4562-4591. doi:10.1200/JCO.23.00857
  2. Logsdon Z. City of Hope receives $100 million gift to create first-of-its-kind national integrative oncology program. News release. City of Hope. September 12, 2023. Accessed March 13, 2024.
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