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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 516916, 7 pages
Review Article

A Systematic Review of Experimental and Clinical Acupuncture in Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

1Department of Systems Medicine, Tor Vergata University, 00133 Rome, Italy
2Institute of Translational Pharmacology, National Research Council, 00133 Rome, Italy
3HanseMerkur Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany
4Sant’Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University, 00189 Rome, Italy
5IDI-IRCCS, 00167 Rome, Italy
6Faculty of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, 103 Borough Road, London SE1 0AA, UK

Received 23 February 2013; Revised 10 June 2013; Accepted 11 June 2013

Academic Editor: Sookyung Lee

Copyright © 2013 Giovanna Franconi 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.


Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a common side effect that can be very disabling and can limit or delay the dose of chemotherapy that can be administered. Acupuncture may be effective for treating peripheral neuropathy. The aim of this study was to review the available literature on the use of acupuncture for CIPN. The systematic literature search was performed using MEDLINE, Google Scholar, Cochrane Database, CINHAL, and ISI Proceedings. Hand searching was conducted, and consensus was reached on all extracted data. Only papers in the English language were included, irrespective of study design. From 3989 retrieved papers, 8 relevant papers were identified. One was an experimental study which showed that electroacupuncture suppressed CIPN pain in rats. In addition, there were 7 very heterogeneous clinical studies, 1 controlled randomised study using auricular acupuncture, 2 randomized controlled studies using somatic acupuncture, and 3 case series/case reports which suggested a positive effect of acupuncture in CIPN. Conclusions. Only one controlled randomised study demonstrated that acupuncture may be beneficial for CIPN. All the clinical studies reviewed had important methodological limitations. Further studies with robust methodology are needed to demonstrate the role of acupuncture for treating CIPN resulting from cancer treatment.