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Effect of a Complementary/Integrative Medicine Treatment Program on Taxane-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy: A Brief Report
  1. Eran Ben-Arye, MD*,,,§,
  2. Yaron River, MD,#,
  3. Yael Keshet, PhD**,
  4. Ofer Lavie, MD,,
  5. Pesi Israeli, Ac*,,,§ and
  6. Noah Samuels, MD*,,,§,‡‡
  1. * Integrative Oncology Program, The Oncology Service, Lin Medical Center,
  2. Carmel Medical Center,
  3. Western Galilee District,
  4. § Clalit Health Services;
  5. Complementary and Traditional Medicine Unit, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa;
  6. Department of Neurology,
  7. # Pain Service, Hillel Yafe Medical Center, Hadera;
  8. ** Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Western Galilee Academic College, Galilee;
  9. †† Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Gynecologic Oncology Service, Carmel Medical Center, Haifa; and
  10. ‡‡ Tal Center for Integrative Oncology, Institute of Oncology, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Eran Ben-Arye, MD, The Oncology Service, Lin Medical Center, 35 Rothschild St, Haifa. E-mail: eranben{at}


Objective Peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of cancer treatment impairing quality of life and function. This study explored the impact of a complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) program on taxane-induced peripheral neuropathy (TIPN).

Materials and Methods Taxane-treated female patients with breast and gynecological cancer reporting TIPN-related symptoms were referred to an integrative physician, followed by patient-tailored CIM treatments (acupuncture with/without other modalities). Assessment of study outcomes at 6 to 12 weeks was conducted using the Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing, which documented free-text narratives about patients’ experience during the CIM treatment process. Content was analyzed using ATLAS.Ti software.

Results Of the 125 patients treated with taxanes, 69 had been referred for CIM treatment of TIPN-associated symptoms. Multidisciplinary narrative analysis identified 2 groups of CIM-treated patients: those with an apparently moderate improvement in symptoms (n = 35) and those with either only an apparent mild or no improvement at all. For 10 patients, assessment of their response to treatment was unclear. The 2 identified groups had similar demographic, cancer-related, and quality of life–related parameters at baseline. Content analysis of patients with an apparent moderate improvement suggested a short-term (24–48 hours) effect with acupuncture treatment, either alone or combined with manual, mind-body, and anthroposophic music therapies. Symptoms showing improvement included paresthesia and numbness.

Conclusions Acupuncture and other CIM therapies may result in a short-term and transitory reduction in TIPN-related symptoms.

  • Integrative medicine
  • Chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Quality of life
  • Gynecological oncology

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  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.