Chao, L.F., Zhang, A.L., Liu, H.E., Cheng, M.H., Lam, H.B., & Lo, S.K. (2009). The efficacy of acupoint stimulation for the management of therapy-related adverse events in patients with breast cancer: A systematic review. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 118, 255–267.doi: 10.1007/s10549-009-0533-8
To scrutinize the evidence of using acupoint stimulation (APS) by any modality on managing adverse events related to anticancer therapies in patients with breast cancer
Initial review involved 843 titles and abstracts and 51 full-text articles. Of those, 26 studies were included in the report.
Study evaluation began with two independent reviewers using a modified Jadad scale, assessing 3 aspects: randomization procedure (2 points); dropout and withdrawal discussion (1 point); and blinding (2 points). Studies were classified as high quality if they attained a score of 3 or higher.
Evaluated literature included 18 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and eight controlled clinical trials published between 1999 and 2008. Nine trials included conventional acupuncture, 6 included electroacupuncture, 5 included drug injection in acupoints, 3 included self-acupressure, and 3 included acupoint stimulation by wristbands or acumagnet. Eighteen were in English, and 8 were in Chinese.
Nine of the 26 studies were rated as high quality. Adverse effects (outcomes) of the APS included vasomotor syndrome, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), post-mastectomy pain, joint symptoms, lymphedema, leukopenia, and adverse events.
Eleven studies investigated CINV and APS with acupoints P6 and ST36. Ten of the CINV studies reported APS significantly improved emesis caused by breast cancer therapy.
The most common outcome evaluated by APS in the studies was CINV. APS was noted to be effective in reducing acute emesis caused by breast cancer therapy. Authors reported that APS is beneficial in the management of CINV, especially in the acute phase.
Healthcare providers should consider using APS as an option for the management of CINV.