Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 1409–1415 | Cite as

How long do the effects of acupuncture on hot flashes persist in cancer patients?

  • Jessica W. Frisk
  • Mats L. Hammar
  • Martin Ingvar
  • Anna-Clara E. Spetz HolmEmail author
Review Article



Acupuncture has been suggested as therapy for hot flashes in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer. In this systematic review, we sought to evaluate the long-term effects on vasomotor symptoms after the end of a defined treatment period of acupuncture in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer.


A literature search revealed 222 articles within the field. With defined exclusion criteria, we identified 17 studies. We also used the Jadad quality score and identified seven studies with a score of at least 3.


Six of seven identified studies qualified for inclusion in an analysis that measured frequency of hot flashes weighted in relation to number of patients (n = 172). The average reduction from baseline to end of acupuncture (ranging between 5 and 12 weeks of treatment) showed 43.2 % reduction of hot flashes. At the last follow-up (mean 5.8 months, range 3–9 months) after the end of therapy, the weighted reduction from baseline was sustained at 45.6 % in the 153 of 172 patients (89 %) who were followed up.


Data from six prospective analyzed studies indicate at least 3-month effects after the end of acupuncture treatment for flashes in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer. However, larger randomized trials with long-term follow-up will be needed to confirm these preliminary findings.


Acupuncture Breast neoplasm Prostatic cancer Hot flashes 


Conflict of interest

We declare no conflicts of interest. We have control of primary data regarding our own publications of original articles, but not primary data from other authors whose publications are included in this systematic review. We agree to allow the journal to review primary data regarding our own publications if requested.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica W. Frisk
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mats L. Hammar
    • 1
  • Martin Ingvar
    • 3
  • Anna-Clara E. Spetz Holm
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Clinical and Experimental MedicineLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.Clinical Department of Surgery, VHN, County Council ÖstergötlandLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  3. 3.Osher Center for Intergrative Medicine, Department of Clinical NeuroscienceKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity Hospital of LinköpingLinköpingSweden

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