Current Oncology Reports

, 16:418 | Cite as

Acupuncture for Symptom Management in Cancer Care: an Update

  • M. Kay Garcia
  • Jennifer McQuade
  • Richard Lee
  • Robin Haddad
  • Michael Spano
  • Lorenzo Cohen
Integrative Care (C Lammersfeld, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Integrative Care


In a previous systematic review of the worldwide literature of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving needle insertion into acupuncture points for symptom management in cancer patients, we identified only one high-quality RCT that was deemed to have a low risk of bias. Medline, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane (all databases), Scopus, and PubMed were searched from inception through December 2011 with no language limits applied. A total of 41 RCTs met all inclusion criteria and were rated. In the current review, we examined 18 trials published since our last report. The purpose of this update was to emphasize important recent findings and discuss how concerns such as blinding, separating non-specific placebo effects from specific needling effects, determining biologic mechanisms and dosing parameters, evaluating determinants of response such as expectation, controlling for sources of bias, and the lack of standardization in treatment and study methods may affect the interpretation of study results.


Acupuncture Cancer Integrative medicine Complementary medicine Symptom management Pain Fatigue Peripheral neuropathy Lymphedema Hot flashes 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

M. Kay Garcia, Jennifer McQuade, Richard Lee, Robin Haddad, Michael Spano, and Lorenzo Cohen declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Kay Garcia
    • 1
  • Jennifer McQuade
    • 1
  • Richard Lee
    • 1
  • Robin Haddad
    • 1
  • Michael Spano
    • 1
  • Lorenzo Cohen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of General Oncology, Integrative Medicine ProgramThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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