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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:349653. doi: 10.1155/2013/349653. Epub 2013 Aug 28.

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in cancer patients: a four-arm randomized trial on the effectiveness of electroacupuncture.

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Tumor Biology Center at the Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany ; Institute of Complementary Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, 8006 Zurich, Switzerland ; Hubertus Wald Tumor Center, University Cancer Center Hamburg, 20246 Hamburg, Germany.


Purpose. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a common and dose-limiting side effect of cytostatic drugs. Since there are no proven therapeutic procedures against CIPN, we were interested to define the role of electroacupuncture (EA) from which preliminary data showed promising results. Methods. In a randomized trial with a group sequential adaptive design in patients with CIPN, we compared EA (LV3, SP9, GB41, GB34, LI4, LI11, SI3, and HT3; n = 14) with hydroelectric baths (HB, n = 14), vitamin B1/B6 capsules (300/300 mg daily; VitB, n = 15), and placebo capsules (n = 17). The statistical power in this trial was primarily calculated for proving EA only, so results of HB and VitB are pilot data. Results. CIPN complaints improved by 0.8 ± 1.2 (EA), 1.7 ± 1.7 (HB), 1.6 ± 2.0 (VitB), and 1.3 ± 1.3 points (placebo) on a 10-point numeric rating scale without significant difference between treatment groups or placebo. In addition no significant differences in sensory nerve conduction studies or quality of life (EORTC QLQ-C30) were found. Conclusions. The used EA concept, HB, and VitB were not superior to placebo. Since, contrary to our results, studies with different acupuncture concepts showed a positive effect on CIPN, the effect of acupuncture on CIPN remains unclear. Further randomized, placebo controlled studies seem necessary. This trial is registered with DRKS00004448.

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