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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 860631, 6 pages
Research Article

Effects and Mechanisms of Transcutaneous Electroacupuncture on Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting

1Division of Gastroenterology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou 310006, China
2Division of Gastroenterology, Sixth People’s Hospital of Shaoxing, Shaoxing 312000, China
3Ningbo Pace Translational Medical Research Center, Beilun, Ningbo 315043, China
4Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA

Received 17 July 2014; Accepted 13 August 2014; Published 31 August 2014

Academic Editor: Jieyun Yin

Copyright © 2014 Xing Zhang 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.


Nausea and vomiting are one of the major complications of chemotherapy for cancers. The aim of this study is to investigate the emetic effects and mechanisms involving serotonin and dopamine of needleless transcutaneous electroacupuncture (TEA) at Neiguan (PC6) and Jianshi (PC5) on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in patients with cancers. Seventy-two patients with chemotherapy were randomly divided into sham-TEA group (sham-TEA, and TEA group . TEA was performed at PC 6 and PC 5 (1 h, bid) in combination with granisetron. Sham-TEA was delivered at nonacupoints using the same parameters. We found the following. (1) In the acute phase, the conventional antiemetic therapy using Ondansetron effectively reduced nausea and vomiting; the addition of TEA did not show any additive effects. In the delayed phase, however, TEA significantly increased the rate of complete control and reduced the nausea score , compared with sham-TEA. (2) TEA significantly reduced serum levels of 5-HT and dopamine in comparison with sham-TEA. Those results demonstrate that needleless transcutaneous electroacupuncture at PC6 using a watch-size digital stimulator improves emesis and reduces nausea in the delayed phase of chemotherapy in patients with cancers. This antiemetic effect is possibly mediated via mechanisms involving serotonin and dopamine.