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Acupuncture shows preliminary evidence of effectiveness in reducing the incidence of progression to high grade chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), in women undergoing breast cancer treatment. In a phase IIA single-arm clinical trial, an American research team screened 104 stage I-III breast cancer patients receiving weekly paclitaxel treatment for the development of CIPN. Thirty-seven patients developed grade II CIPN, and of these, 27 received acupuncture (bilateral ear Shenmen, Point Zero, and two additional auricular points where electrodermal signal was detected, along with bilateral Hegu L.I.-4, Waiguan SJ-5, Quchi L.I.-11, Fenglong ST-40 and Ba Feng M-LE-8). Of the 27 patients who received acupuncture, 26 completed paclitaxel treatment without progressing to develop grade III CIPN, meeting the authors’ prespecified success criteria for declaring acupuncture worthy of further study. Neuropathic pain and quality of life scores remained stable during the intervention, and acupuncture treatment was well tolerated with 4 of 27 patients (15 percent) reporting grade I bruising.

A phase IIA trial of acupuncture to reduce chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy severity during neoadjuvant or adjuvant weekly paclitaxel chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. Eur J Cancer. 2018 Sep;101:12-19.

Another study by some of the same authors using the same point prescription found that acupuncture can improve multiple symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy induced by the drug bortezomib (BIPN), in patients with multiple myeloma. Twenty-seven multiple myeloma patients treated with bortezomib, who had developed BIPN grade 2 or above, received 10 acupuncture treatments over 10 weeks. Statistically significant reductions were found in individual neuropathy symptoms, and were most pronounced in hand/foot numbness/tingling, discomfort, trouble walking, cold sensitivity, and feelings of unpleasantness.

Acupuncture for Bortezomib-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy: Not Just for Pain. Integr Cancer Ther. 2018 Jul 1:1534735418788667

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