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Med Acupunct. 2012 Dec;24(4):233-240.

The Feasibility and Effects of Acupuncture on Quality of Life Scores During Chemotherapy in Ovarian Cancer: Results from a Pilot, Randomized Sham-Controlled Trial.

Author information

1
Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute , Boston, MA. ; The New England School of Acupuncture , Newton, MA.
2
Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute , Boston, MA.
3
The New England School of Acupuncture , Newton, MA.
4
Biostatistics Center, Massachusetts General Hospital , Boston, MA.
5
Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute , Boston, MA.
6
Department of Gynecologic Oncology & Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital , Boston, MA.
7
Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital , Boston, MA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Within a pilot trial regarding chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, the secondary aim of the main study was explored. This involved measuring the effects-as shown on two key measurement scales reflecting quality of life (QoL)-of verum versus sham acupuncture on patients with ovarian cancer during chemotherapy.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this substudy was to determine the feasibility of determining the effects of verum acupuncture versus sham acupuncture on QoL in patients with ovarian cancer during chemotherapy.

DESIGN:

This was a randomized, sham-controlled trial.

SETTING:

The trial was conducted at two cancer centers.

PATIENTS:

Patients with ovarian cancer (N=21) who were receiving chemotherapy-primarily intravenous carboplatin and paclitaxel-participated in this substudy.

INTERVENTION:

The participants were given either active or sham acupuncture 1 week prior to cycle 2 of chemotherapy. There were ten sessions of acupuncture, with manual and electro-stimulation over a 4-week period.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer-Quality-of-Life Questionnaire-Core 30 Item (EORTC-QLQ-C30) and the Quality of Life Questionnaire-Ovarian Cancer Module-28 Item (QLQ-OV28) were administered to the patients at baseline and at the end of their acupuncture sessions.

RESULTS:

Of the original 21, 15 patients (71%) completed the study, and 93% of them completed the questionnaires. The EORTC-QLQ-C30 subscores were improved in the acupuncture arm, including the mean scores of social function (SF), pain, and insomnia (p=0.05). However, after adjusting for baseline differences, only the SF score was significantly higher in the active acupuncture arm, compared with the sham acupuncture arm (p=0.03).

CONCLUSIONS:

It appears feasible to conduct a randomized sham-controlled acupuncture trial measuring QoL for patients with ovarian cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy. Acupuncture may have a role in improving QoL during chemotherapy.

KEYWORDS:

Acupuncture; Chemotherapy; EORTC; Neutropenia; Ovarian Cancer; Quality of Life; Randomized Controlled Trial

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