Palliative care of cancer: overview of systematic reviews

Effectiveness of acupuncture and related therapies for palliative care of cancer: overview of systematic reviews

Objective

Acupuncture and related therapies such as moxibustion and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation are frequently used in the management of cancer-related symptoms. Their effectiveness and safety of acupuncture and related therapies are discussed controversial. The authors aim was to provide an overview to summarise the evidence on acupuncture for palliative care of cancer.

Methods

A systematic review of 23 systematic reviews was conducted. The systematic review synthesised the results from clinical trials of patients with any type of cancer. The methodological quality of the 23 systematic reviews was assessed using the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews Instrument.

Results

The methodological quality of the 23 systematic reviews was regarded satisfactory. Evidence was found for acupuncture for the management of cancer-related fatigue, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and leucopenia in patients with cancer.

For the treatment of cancer-related pain, hot flashes and hiccups, and improving patients’ quality of life there are conflicting results. There is currently insufficient evidence to support or refute the potential of acupuncture and related therapies in the management of xerostomia, dyspnea and lymphedema and in the improvement of psychological well-being. No serious adverse effects were reported in any study.

Conclusion

The results of the study suggest that there is evidence for the use of acupuncture for the management of cancer-related fatigue, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and leucopenia in patients with cancer. As acupuncture appears to be relatively safe, it could be considered as a complementary form of palliative care for cancer patients.

To Read Full Publication: Palliative_Cancer

Citation
Wu, X., Chung, V. C., Hui, E. P., Ziea, E. T., Ng, B. F., Ho, R. S., … & Wu, J. C. (2015). Effectiveness of acupuncture and related therapies for palliative care of cancer: overview of systematic reviews. Scientific reports, 5, 16776.
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0415-6412(17)30048-6