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Acupuncture and integrative oncology for taxane-induced peripheral neuropathy: a randomized multicentered study
  1. Eran Ben-Arye1,2,
  2. Dorit Gamus3,
  3. Noah Samuels4,
  4. Elad Schiff2,5,6,
  5. David Hausner3,
  6. Orit Gressel1,
  7. Samuel Attias6,
  8. Ofer Lavie2,7,
  9. Adi David3,
  10. Katerina Shulman8 and
  11. Abed Agbarya6
  1. 1 The Oncology Service; Lin Medical Center, Clalit Health Services; Haifa and Western Galilee District, Haifa, Israel
  2. 2 Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
  3. 3 Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel
  4. 4 Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel
  5. 5 Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital, Haifa, Israel
  6. 6 Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
  7. 7 Lady Davies Carmel Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
  8. 8 LIN Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
  1. Correspondence to Professor Eran Ben-Arye, The Oncology Service; Lin Medical Center, Clalit Health Services; Haifa and Western Galilee District; Israel, Haifa, Israel; eranben{at}


Objective To compare the effectiveness of acupuncture alone or with additional integrative oncology modalities for taxane-induced peripheral neuropathy-related symptoms in patients with gynecological and breast cancer.

Methods The study was a prospective evaluation of patients undergoing twice-weekly treatments with either acupuncture alone (single-modality, group A) or with additional manual-movement and mind-body therapies (multimodality, group B), for 6 weeks. Symptom severity was assessed at baseline, 6 weeks, and 9 weeks using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Taxane (FACT-Tax) tool; and von Frey perception thresholds. Additional symptoms were also assessed with the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire (EORTC QLQ-C30) and the Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing (MYCaW) study tool.

Results For the 120 participants (60 in each study arm), baseline to 6-week scores were similar in both groups for improved FACT-Tax physical wellbeing and scores for hand numbness/tingling; EORTC physical functioning and global health status; and MYCaW scores. FACT-Tax taxane subscales and scores for foot numbness/tingling improved only in group A (p=0.038), while emotional wellbeing FACT-Tax (p=0.02) and EORTC pain (p=0.005) improved only in group B. Group B showed greater improvement for FACT-Tax neuropathy-related concerns than group A at 24 hours (p=0.043) and 7 days (p=0.009) after the first treatment.

Conclusion Acupuncture alone or with additional integrative oncology modalities may help reduce neuropathy-related symptoms. The single-modality group demonstrated greater improvement for foot numbness/tingling, and the multimodality group demonstrated improvement for pain and improved emotional wellbeing and neuropathy-related concerns in the first week of treatment.

Trial registration number NCT03290976.

  • Quality of Life (PRO)/Palliative Care

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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  • EB-A and DG contributed equally.

  • Contributors All authors contributed to the conceptualization, investigation, methodology, review, and editing of the manuscript. EB-A, SA, AD, and OG also contributed to data curation and formal analysis. EB-A, ES, DH, and NS and wrote the original draft. EB-A is responsible for the overall content as guarantor.

  • Funding This Research was funded by the Adelis Foundation. This study was not funded by any commercial source.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.