A dual-center randomized controlled double blind trial assessing the effect of acupuncture in reducing musculoskeletal symptoms in breast cancer patients taking aromatase inhibitors

Ting Bao, Ling Cai, Jon T. Giles, Jeff Gould, Karineh Tarpinian, Kelly Betts, Michelle Medeiros, Stacie Jeter, Nancy Tait, Saranya Chumsri, Deborah K. Armstrong, Ming Tan, Elizabeth Folkerd, Mitch Dowsett, Harvinder Singh, Kate Tkaczuk, Vered Stearns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Up to 50 % of women receiving aromatase inhibitor (AI) complain of AI-associated musculoskeletal symptoms (AIMSS) and 15 % discontinue treatment. We conducted a randomized, sham-controlled trial to evaluate whether acupuncture improves AIMSS and to explore potential mechanisms. Postmenopausal women with early stage breast cancer, experiencing AIMSS were randomized to eight weekly real or sham acupuncture sessions. We evaluated changes in the Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI) and pain visual analog scale (VAS) following the intervention compared to baseline. Serum estradiol, β-endorphin, and proinflammatory cytokine concentrations were measured pre and post-intervention. We enrolled 51 women of whom 47 were evaluable, including 23 randomized to real and 24 to sham acupuncture. Baseline characteristics were balanced between groups with the exception of a higher HAQ-DI score in the real acupuncture group (p = 0.047). We did not observe a statistically significant difference in reduction of HAQ-DI (p = 0.30) or VAS (p = 0.31) between the two groups. Following eight weekly treatments, we observed a statistically significant reduction of IL-17 (p ≤ 0.009) in both groups. No significant modulation was seen in estradiol, β-endorphin, or other proinflammatory cytokine concentrations in either group. We did not observe a significant difference in AIMSS changes between real and sham acupuncture. As sham acupuncture used in this study may not be equivalent to placebo, further studies with a non-acupuncture arm may be required to establish whether acupuncture is beneficial for the treatment of AIMSS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-174
Number of pages8
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Volume138
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 11 2013

Keywords

  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatase inhibitor
  • Breast cancer
  • Musculoskeletal symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A dual-center randomized controlled double blind trial assessing the effect of acupuncture in reducing musculoskeletal symptoms in breast cancer patients taking aromatase inhibitors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Bao, T., Cai, L., Giles, J. T., Gould, J., Tarpinian, K., Betts, K., Medeiros, M., Jeter, S., Tait, N., Chumsri, S., Armstrong, D. K., Tan, M., Folkerd, E., Dowsett, M., Singh, H., Tkaczuk, K., & Stearns, V. (2013). A dual-center randomized controlled double blind trial assessing the effect of acupuncture in reducing musculoskeletal symptoms in breast cancer patients taking aromatase inhibitors. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 138(1), 167-174. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10549-013-2427-z