J Cancer 2021; 12(23):7003-7009. doi:10.7150/jca.55803 This issue

Review

The Therapeutic Effects of Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture on Cancer-related Symptoms and Side-Effects

Qiu-Qin Han1,2,3, Yi Fu1,2,3, Jia-Mei Le1,2,3, Yu-Jie Ma1,2,3, Xin-Dong Wei1,2,3, Hou-Lin Ji1,2,3, Haochen Jiang4,5, Yueqiu Gao4,5✉, Hailong Wu1,2,3✉

1. Shanghai University of Medicine & Health Sciences Affiliated Zhoupu Hospital, Shanghai 201318, China.
2. Shanghai Key Laboratory of Molecular Imaging, Shanghai University of Medicine & Health Sciences, Shanghai 201318, China.
3. Collaborative Innovation Center for Biomedicine, Shanghai University of Medicine & Health Sciences, Shanghai 201318, China.
4. Institute of Clinical Immunology, Department of Liver Diseases, Central Laboratory, Shuguang Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200021, China.
5. Laboratory of Cellular Immunity, Shuguang Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 200021, China.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). See http://ivyspring.com/terms for full terms and conditions.
Citation:
Han QQ, Fu Y, Le JM, Ma YJ, Wei XD, Ji HL, Jiang H, Gao Y, Wu H. The Therapeutic Effects of Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture on Cancer-related Symptoms and Side-Effects. J Cancer 2021; 12(23):7003-7009. doi:10.7150/jca.55803. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v12p7003.htm

File import instruction

Abstract

Graphic abstract

In addition to cancer-related death, malignant progression also leads to a series of symptoms and side-effects, which would detrimentally affect cancer patients' the quality of life, adversely influence their adherence to treatments, and, therefore, negatively affect their long-term survival. Acupuncture and electroacupuncture (EA), as two classic treatment methods in traditional Chinese medicine, have been widely employed to cure various diseases. Recently, the clinical application of acupuncture and EA in cancer patients has received great attention. In this review, we summarized the clinical application of acupuncture and EA in alleviating the cancer symptoms, reducing the cancer treatment-related side-effects, and relieving the cancer pain. The symptoms and side-effects discussed in this review include fatigue, insomnia, chemotherapy-associated dyspepsia syndrome (CADS), pain, xerostomia, and anxiety and depression. The underlying mechanisms of the therapeutic effects of acupuncture and EA might be related to the regulation of the mitochondrial function, coordination of the activity of the nervous system, adjustment of the production of neurotransmitters, and alleviation of the immune responses. In conclusion, acupuncture and EA have been proved to be beneficial for cancer patients. More research, however, is required to clarify the potential mechanisms behind acupuncture and EA for widespread adoption in clinical application.

Keywords: acupuncture, electroacupuncture, cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, pain