Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) can cause loss of independence and poor quality of life (QoL) due to severe disabilities, but in spite of its importance there is still a lack of data for the management of CIPN. Acupuncture has showed promising results and may be a cost-effective option for the treatment.
To evaluate the effect of acupuncture treatment on neurological symptoms of CIPN and QoL of oncological patients.
We performed a clinical, single-centre, randomised and controlled pilot study that involved 33 adult patients with cancer and CIPN randomised into two groups (control and acupuncture treated with 10 sessions, two times per week). Both groups were subjected to a complete physical examination and clinical assessment with National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (NCI CTCAE) Scale V.2.0, FIM Scale, European Organisation for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire Core (EORTC QLQ-C30) Scale and Visual Analogue Scale for pain before and 5 weeks after treatment.
There were no adverse events, and we found statistical differences in groups in physical (p=0.03) and function (p=0.04) domains of EORTC QLQ-C30 when comparing control and acupuncture groups. About NCI CTCAE Scale and neuropathy sensory symptoms, we found better results in acupuncture group, comparing pretreatment and post-treatment analyses (p=0.01). In control group, we have no differences after 5 weeks (p=0.11).
Although these results suggest an interesting effect of acupuncture on this patient population, the clinical significance has remained unclear. Given the tendency towards benefit and the lack of adverse effects, the authors recommend a follow-up acupuncture trial using higher follow-up time and better sample size.
Trial registration number
Authors: Eduardo Guilherme D’Alessandro, Daniela Ribeiro Nebuloni Nagy, Christina May Moran de Brito, Elisangela Pinto Marinho Almeida, Linamara Rizzo Battistella and Rebeca Boltes Cecatto
Published in: BMJ Support Palliat Care. 2019 Jun 29. pii: bmjspcare-2018-001542.