Cassileth, B.R., Van Zee, K.J., Yeung, K.S., Coleton, M.I., Cohen, S., Chan, Y.H., … Hudis, C.A. (2013). Acupuncture in the treatment of upper-limb lymphedema: Results of a pilot study. Cancer, 119, 2455–2461.doi: 10.1002/cncr.28093
To evaluate the safety and potential efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of arm lymphedema in women with breast cancer-related lymphedema
Each patient was given acupuncture treatment twice weekly for four weeks. Treatments lasted 30 minutes, as 14 needles were inserted at apecific points determined on the basis of history and consensus of experienced acupuncturists. Arm circumference was measured before and after each treatment.
This was a single-site, outpatient study conducted at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
This study has clinical applicability for late effects and survivorship.
This was a prospective trial.
Findings suggest that acupuncture can be safely provided to patients with arm lymphedema. However, the benefit is unclear because of study design limitations and the fact that the mean change in lymphedema was very small.
This study provides insufficient evidence to support efficacy of acupuncture for lymphedema management.