Acupuncture in the Oncology Setting: Clinical Trial Update
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Acupuncture, the insertion of sterile needles into acupuncture points of traditional meridians on the body, is a common and effective treatment for a number of supportive care issues in oncology including acute chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. In the Integrative Oncology setting, acupuncture and Traditional Oriental Medicine have become more visible and many oncology clinics, academic health centers and comprehensive cancer centers recommend and administer acupuncture treatment. Continued basic studies on the physiologic mechanisms of acupuncture and recent clinical trials of acupuncture for cancer patients are enhancing our knowledge and informing our guidelines. While debates on methodological problems confronting the study of acupuncture remain, the most recent research demonstrates that acupuncture is safe, tolerable and effective for a range of side effects resulting from conventional cancer treatments.
References and Recommended Reading
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
This paper represents recent results demonstrating the relationship of collagenous bands and lower electrical impedance at acupuncture meridians. This finding may provide important insight into the nature of acupuncture meridians and mechanism of action of acupuncture.
The seminal paper demonstrating that acupuncture releases the neurotransmitter, beta-endorphin.
A very well designed and reported study demonstrating CNS mechanisms of acupuncture administration.
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The largest phase III trial of acupuncture for knee osteoarthritis.
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The updated consensus statement from 10 years previously (reference 7).
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A comprehensive analysis of thoughts on oncologic pain by a consensus of professionals in the United Kingdom.
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A review of the neurophysiologic mechanisms implied in oncologic pain.
A randomized, sham controlled clinical trial that follows up on a previous pilot study and cross-sectional analysis.
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A quick review that explores many related nociceptive mechanisms of action of acupuncture including CNS and peripheral mechanisms.
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A pilot study that examines pain and the related side effect of xerostomia in head and neck cancer patients following neck dissection.
An important clinical trial that examined both symptom amelioration and central mechanisms of acupuncture for xerostomia.
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A large review of the safety of acupuncture in 97,733 German patients.
- 32.••http://www.clinicaltrials.gov viewed October 29, 2010. An excellent resource for researchers and clinicians reporting actively recruiting, ongoing and closed clinical trials throughout the United States