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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 349653, 9 pages
Research Article

Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Cancer Patients: A Four-Arm Randomized Trial on the Effectiveness of Electroacupuncture

1Tumor Biology Center at the Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
2Institute of Complementary Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, 8006 Zurich, Switzerland
3Hubertus Wald Tumor Center, University Cancer Center Hamburg, 20246 Hamburg, Germany
4University Medical Center Freiburg, 79106 Freiburg, Germany
5Institute of General Practice, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, 60590 Frankfurt/M, Germany
6Carstens Foundation Essen, 45276 Essen, Germany
7Hanse Merkur Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, 20246 Hamburg, Germany

Received 8 May 2013; Accepted 7 July 2013

Academic Editor: Sookyung Lee

Copyright © 2013 M. Rostock et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a common and dose-limiting side effect of cytostatic drugs. Since there are no proven therapeutic procedures against CIPN, we were interested to define the role of electroacupuncture (EA) from which preliminary data showed promising results. Methods. In a randomized trial with a group sequential adaptive design in patients with CIPN, we compared EA (LV3, SP9, GB41, GB34, LI4, LI11, SI3, and HT3; ) with hydroelectric baths (HB, ), vitamin B1/B6 capsules (300/300 mg daily; VitB, ), and placebo capsules ( ). The statistical power in this trial was primarily calculated for proving EA only, so results of HB and VitB are pilot data. Results. CIPN complaints improved by (EA), (HB), (VitB), and points (placebo) on a 10-point numeric rating scale without significant difference between treatment groups or placebo. In addition no significant differences in sensory nerve conduction studies or quality of life (EORTC QLQ-C30) were found. Conclusions. The used EA concept, HB, and VitB were not superior to placebo. Since, contrary to our results, studies with different acupuncture concepts showed a positive effect on CIPN, the effect of acupuncture on CIPN remains unclear. Further randomized, placebo controlled studies seem necessary. This trial is registered with DRKS00004448.