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Head Neck. 2009 Oct;31(10):1360-8. doi: 10.1002/hed.21110.

Acupuncture for radiation-induced xerostomia in patients with cancer: a pilot study.

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  • 1Integrative Medicine, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.



This pilot study evaluated if acupuncture can alleviate radiation-induced xerostomia among patients with cancer. Secondary objectives were to assess the effects of acupuncture on salivary flow and quality of life (QOL).


Nineteen patients received acupuncture twice a week for 4 weeks.


Xerostomia inventory (XI) and patient benefit questionnaire (PBQ) scores were significantly better after acupuncture on weeks 4 and 8 than at baseline (XI: p = .0004 and .0001; PBQ: p = .0004 and .0011, respectively). For QOL at weeks 4 and 8, there was a significant difference for questions related to head/neck cancer (p = .04 and .006, respectively). At week 8, there was a significant difference in physical well-being (p = .04). At weeks 5 and 8, there were significant differences in the total score (p = .04 and .03, respectively).


Acupuncture was effective for radiation-induced xerostomia in this small pilot study. Further research is needed.

(c) 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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