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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 430796, 18 pages
Review Article

Current Evidence on Auricular Therapy for Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting in Cancer Patients: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

1School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
2The Second Affiliated People’s Hospital, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. 13, Hudong Road, Gulou District, Fuzhou 350003, China

Received 6 July 2014; Revised 13 August 2014; Accepted 17 August 2014; Published 25 November 2014

Academic Editor: Manuel Arroyo-Morales

Copyright © 2014 Jing-Yu Tan 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.


Auricular therapy (AT) has been historically viewed as a convenient approach adjunct to pharmacological therapy for cancer patients with chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). The aim of this study was to assess the evidence of the therapeutic effect of AT for CINV management in cancer patients. Relevant randomized controlled trials were retrieved from 12 electronic databases without language restrictions. Meanwhile, manual search was conducted for Chinese journals on complementary medicine published within the last five years, and the reference lists of included studies were also checked to identify any possible eligible studies. Twenty-one studies with 1713 participants were included. The effect rate of AT for managing acute CINV ranged from 44.44% to 93.33% in the intervention groups and 15% to 91.67% in the control groups. For delayed CINV, it was 62.96% to 100% and 25% to 100%, respectively. AT seems to be a promising approach in managing CINV. However, the level of evidence was low and the definite effect cannot be concluded as there were significant methodological flaws identified in the analyzed studies. The implications drawn from the 21 studies put some clues for future practice in this area including the need to conduct more rigorously designed randomized controlled trials.