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Auricular Acupuncture During Chemotherapy Infusion in Breast Cancer Patients: A Feasibility Study


Breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy experience multiple distressing symptoms. The authors investigated the feasibility and potential benefits of auricular acupuncture during chemotherapy infusion in this population.

Materials and Methods
Women with stage I–III breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy were enrolled and followed for three chemotherapy cycles. During the first cycle of chemotherapy that participants received after study enrollment, they were provided with educational materials. During the second and third cycles of chemotherapy after enrollment, they received auricular acupuncture. The primary outcome was feasibility, assessed by recruitment, retention, and completion of assessments. Secondary outcomes included symptom burden (Edmonton Symptom Assessment System-Revised Version) and anxiety (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-State), assessed at four timepoints for each cycle: day 1, pre-education/acupuncture (T1); day 1, post-education/acupuncture (T2); day 2 (T3); and day 5 (T4). Nausea and vomiting (Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer [MASCC] Antiemesis Tool) were assessed on days 2 and 5. Paired t test was used to compare patient-reported outcomes during cycle 1 (education) versus an average of outcomes during cycles 2 and 3 (acupuncture).

Twenty-six patients were enrolled, of which 24 completed all acupuncture sessions and 22 completed all outcome assessments. In cycles 2 and 3 versus cycle 1, participants experienced significant reductions in symptom burden (change from T1 to T4: −7.9 ± 13.6, p = 0.02), anxiety (change from T1 to T2: −3.3 ± 6.5, p = 0.02), and nausea severity on day 2 (−1.3 ± 2.6, p = 0.04).

The delivery of auricular acupuncture during chemotherapy infusion was feasible and associated with reduction of symptom burden, anxiety, and nausea in breast cancer patients. Larger-scale clinical studies are needed to confirm these findings.

EunMee Yang, Weidong Lu, Anita Giobbie-Hurder, Im Hee Shin, Wendy Y. Chen, Caroline C. Block, Ann Partridge, Rinath M. Jeselsohn, Sara M. Tolaney, Rachel A. Freedman, and Jennifer A. Ligibel

J Integr Complement Med. 2022 May;28(5):427-435. doi: 10.1089/jicm.2021.0256. Epub 2022 Mar 2.

Link: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/jicm.2021.0256

Ohr (beidseits): Shenmen, Nullpunkt, Niere, Leber, Magen, Ösophagus

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