Acupuncture Improves Hot Flashes in Women With Breast Cancer in Italian Trial


Key Points

  • Acupuncture was associated with reduced hot flash score in women with breast cancer.
  • Acupuncture was associated with improved climacteric symptoms and quality-of-life measures.

In an Italian trial reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lesi et al found that the addition of acupuncture to enhanced self-care improved hot flashes, climacteric symptoms, and quality-of-life measures in women with breast cancer.

Study Details

In the trial, 190 women were randomized to receive enhanced self-care with (n = 85) or without (n = 105) acupuncture. Both groups received a booklet with information about climacteric syndrome and its management to be followed for at least 12 weeks. The acupuncture group also received 10 traditional acupuncture treatment sessions involving predefined acupoints.

The primary outcome was hot flash score at the end of treatment at week 12; the score was calculated by multiplying the mean number of daily hot flashes during the week before assessment by mean daily severity (1 = mild, 2 = moderate, 3 = severe). Climacteric symptoms and quality of life were assessed by the Greene Climacteric and Menopause Quality of Life scales.

Acupuncture Benefit

The acupuncture group had a significantly lower mean hot flash score at the end of treatment (11.3 vs 22.7, P < .001) and at 3-month (14.0 vs 21.9, P = .0028) and 6-month (12.6 vs 17.3, P = .001) post-treatment visits. Acupuncture was associated with fewer climacteric symptoms at 12 weeks (P < .001), 3 months (P = .0063), and 6 months (P < .001) and better quality-of-life outcomes at all time points in vasomotor, physical, and psychosocial domains (all P < .05). No differences were observed in the sexual domain.

The investigators concluded: “Acupuncture in association with enhanced self-care is an effective integrative intervention for managing hot flashes and improving quality of life in women with breast cancer.”

The study was supported by Osservatorio Medicine Non Convenzionali Regione Emilia Romagna.

Giorgia Razzini, PhD, of Civil Hospital, Carpi, is the corresponding author of the Journal of Clinical Oncology article.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.