Navigation Links
Acupuncture, real or sham, eases hot flashes due to breast cancer chemo

Both real and sham weekly acupuncture treatments eased hot flashes and other side effects of anticancer drug treatment in a small, preliminary study of breast cancer patients, Baltimore researchers have found.

The results, they say, add to previous reports that even the sensation of skin pricks used to simulate genuine acupuncture needle sticks might be enough to generate natural chemicals that improve symptoms.

Investigators at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center and the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center set out to see if acupuncture could reduce the severity of side effects linked to aromatase inhibitors (AI), drugs used to treat breast cancer or prevent it from recurring after surgery. Because AIs block estrogen synthesis in postmenopausal patients, they can cause moderate to severe hot flashes, similar to those experienced during menopause, and musculoskeletal problems, such as joint and muscle pain.

For the study, investigators enrolled 47 postmenopausal women with stage 0 through III hormone receptor-positive breast cancer who had been receiving AI therapy for at least a month and who reported some AI-associated musculoskeletal symptoms. Patients were randomly assigned to receive eight weekly real or sham acupuncture treatments; 23 patients received real acupuncture and 24 received sham acupuncture.

In addition, the research team collected weekly hot-flash diaries during weeks 0 through 8 and in week 12. Other questionnaires addressing menopausal symptoms, mood, sleep quality, depression, anxiety and quality of life were collected at the study's start and four, eight and 12 weeks later.

Among those receiving real acupuncture, researchers said there were statistically significant improvements in depression, hot-flash severity and frequency, hot flash-related daily interference and other menopausal symptoms. Among those receiving sham acupuncture, researchers noted statistically significant improvements in quality of life, hot flash-related daily interference, and menopausal symptoms. Women in both groups saw an average reduction in hot-flash severity of 31 percent to 54 percent, respectively, from the real and sham acupuncture treatments.

To compare the effects of real acupuncture sessions with those of sham acupuncture, for the latter, the team used non-penetrating, retractable needles placed in 14 locations on the skin between points used for real acupuncture. The non-penetrating needles produce a pricking sensation on the skin so that research subjects could not tell if they are getting the real treatment or not.

Study results, published online Dec. 23 in the journal Cancer, showed few differences overall in benefits between those receiving real and sham acupuncture, and no patients experienced significant side effects from acupuncture.

Although the researchers were not specifically studying racial differences in patients' response, they found that African-American women more often had less frequent or severe hot flashes after real acupuncture, but not after the sham treatments. However, only nine African-Americans participated in the study, not enough, the researchers said, to draw firm conclusions.

The fact that some women had benefits from sham acupuncture raised the question of whether the pricking sensation of sham acupuncture triggers physiological effects, says lead author Ting Bao, M.D., D.A.B.M.A., M.S., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center.

An estimated 60 percent of the acupuncture points used in the study, primarily to treat musculoskeletal symptoms, overlap with those used in treating hot flashes.

Another study published by the researchers earlier this year in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment showed that both real and sham acupuncture treatments helped improve AI-associated musculoskeletal symptoms, including a statistically significant reduction in the inflammatory protein IL-17.

"The current interventions for musculoskeletal side effects are limited to oral analgesics and exercise," Bao says. "But the efficacy of these approaches is limited, and long-term use of oral analgesics can be challenging. If patients are open to acupuncture, this is a reasonable alternative for them."

Studies indicate that up to 60 percent of women with early stage breast cancer who receive AIs experience hot flashes, says Vered Stearns, M.D., senior study author and co-director of the breast cancer program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. Conventional hot-flash treatments include drugs, though their use is limited because of side effects, underscoring a demand for more non-pharmacological interventions, she says. "These women have had a lot of different treatments, and some really try to avoid additional medications," she added.

The authors caution that their study was small and needs verification. They are planning a randomized controlled trial to look further into the racial differences seen in response to real versus sham acupuncture.


Contact: Vanessa Wasta
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Newly Opened Hearthstone Acupuncture and Wellness Provides Minneapolis Acupuncture, Cupping and More to the Corcoran Community
2. Sterling Heights Foot and Ankle Doctor Releases Foot and Ankle Arthritis Article on Podiatry.MD
3. Net Worth Commerce TV Releases December Air Dates for Reading, PA and Vicinity
4. Zensah® Releases New High Compression Tights
5. The Association for Molecular Pathology releases position statement on LDTs
6. Orriant—a Frontrunner in Corporate Wellness Programs—Boasts Lower Premium Increases for Clients
7. Pwnie Express Releases Next Generation of Groundbreaking Pwn Pad
8. BESLER Consulting Releases a Comprehensive Summary of the 2014 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Final Rule
9. Life Insurance for Seniors and the Importance of Preventing Chronic Diseases
10. UBA Survey: Public Employer Annual Health Plan Costs Increases at Double the Rate of Private Sector in 2013
11. Boys Town Releases Tips for Managing Holiday Expectations
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of ... of the latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even ... progress toward their goal. , Research from reveals that behind ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In an ... of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued a ... Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can cause ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law ... magazine’s 2016 Legal Elite. The attorneys chosen by their peers for this recognition are ... , Seven Greenberg Traurig Shareholders received special honors as members of this year’s Legal ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and MyPainAway Pain Relief Products, join The ‘Business for a ... an hour by 2020 and then adjusting it yearly to increase at the same rate ... assure the wage floor does not erode again, and make future increases more predictable. , ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Haute ... Dr. Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and the network’s newest ... world, and the most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic surgery should be ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... PARK RIDGE, Ill. and INDIANAPOLIS ... caliber of students receiving a Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders ... hands. The 2016 scholarship winners, announced today online at ... refused to let type 1 diabetes stand in the ... Lilly Diabetes has supported the Foundation,s scholarship program since ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Revolutionary technology includes ... Oticon , industry leaders in advanced audiology and hearing ... Oticon Opn ™, the world,s first internet connected hearing ... IoT devices.      (Photo: ... number of ,world firsts,: , TwinLink™ - ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 The vast ... an outpatient dialysis facility.  Treatments are usually 3 times ... hours per visit, including travel time, equipment preparation and ... patient, but especially grueling for patients who are elderly ... a skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers for some duration ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: