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Curr Oncol. 2017 Feb;24(1):e1-e5. doi: 10.3747/co.24.3296. Epub 2017 Feb 27.

The effect of acupuncture on chemotherapy-associated gastrointestinal symptoms in gastric cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Chemotherapy, Sichuan Cancer Hospital, and.
2
Department of Gastroenterology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chengdu Medical College, Chengdu, Sichuan, P.R.C.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Gastrointestinal (gi) symptoms are the most notable side effects of chemotherapeutic drugs; such symptoms are currently treated with drugs. In the present study, we investigated the effect of acupuncture on gi symptoms induced by chemotherapy in patients with advanced gastric cancer.

METHODS:

A cohort of 56 patients was randomly divided into an experimental group and a control group. All patients received combination chemotherapy with oxaliplatin-paclitaxel. Patients in the experimental group received 30 minutes of acupuncture therapy daily for 2 weeks. The frequency and duration of nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, the average days and costs of hospitalization, and quality-of-life scores were compared between the groups.

RESULTS:

Nausea was sustained for 32 ± 5 minutes and 11 ± 3 minutes daily in the control and experimental groups respectively (p < 0.05). On average, vomiting occurred 2 ± 1 times daily in the experimental group and 4 ± 1 times daily in the control group (p < 0.05). Abdominal pain persisted for 7 ± 2 minutes and 16 ± 5 minutes daily in the experimental and control groups respectively (p < 0.05). On average, diarrhea occurred 1 ± 1 times daily in the experimental group and 3 ± 1 times daily in the control group (p < 0.05). The average quality-of-life score was higher in the experimental group than in the control group (p < 0.05). No adverse events were observed for the patients receiving acupuncture.

CONCLUSIONS:

Acupuncture, a safe technique, could significantly reduce gi symptoms induced by chemotherapy and enhance quality of life in patients with advanced gastric cancer.

KEYWORDS:

Acupuncture; chemotherapy; gastric cancer; gastrointestinal symptoms; quality of life

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