Choi, T.Y., Lee, M.S., Kim, T.H., Zaslawski, C., & Ernst, E. (2012). Acupuncture for the treatment of cancer pain: A systematic review of randomised clinical trials. Supportive Care in Cancer, 20, 1147–1158.doi: 10.1007/s00520-012-1432-9
To perform a combined systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating cancer pain
The study has clinical applicability for palliative care.
Most of the studies involved manual acupuncture based on traditional Chinese medicine. In regard to effect on cancer pain, the majority of the studies found the effects of acupuncture and conventional drug therapy to be comparable; however, equivalence of effects is unclear in those studies reporting no differences between acupuncture and conventional drug therapies.
Acupuncture may be an effective intervention for controlling pain; however, due to the small number of RCTs, low methodological quality, and small sample sizes, the results of the meta-analysis did not provide strong evidence of such effectiveness.
Further research is needed to evaluate this nonpharmacologic intervention for relieving cancer pain.