Lee, H., Schmidt, K., & Ernst, E. (2005). Acupuncture for the relief of cancer-related pain—A systematic review. European Journal of Pain, 9, 437–444.doi: 10.1016/j.ejpain.2004.10.004
To summarize a systematic review of existing evidence regarding the effect of acupuncture on cancer-related pain
Investigators reviewed 29 studies initially and chose 7 for analysis. Two authors, working independently, read all articles in full and extracted data about trial methods, study design, participants, interventions, type of pain, pain outcomes, and adverse effects. Authors used a modified Jadad scale to rate the studies. (The study summary cites rating criteria.) Authors met to reach consensus, and discrepancies were settled by discussion with the third author. The Jadad scale was modified because of the near impossibility of blinding the acupuncturist to the treatment.
Data from this study do not support the use of acupuncture as an effective analgesic adjunctive method for the treatment of cancer pain. Note that 2003 is the most recent date of an article in this systematic review; articles excluded were published 1974–2003.
Appropriately powered randomized controlled trials that investigate the efficacy of acupuncture are needed.