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Acupuncture and integrative oncology for taxane-induced peripheral neuropathy: a randomized multicentered study


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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