Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine / 2016 / Article / Tab 2

Review Article

Acupuncture for Pain Management in Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Table 2

Grade Quality of evidence of acupuncture plus drug therapy for cancer pain.

OutcomesIllustrative comparative risks (95% CI)Relative effect (95% CI) Number of participants (studies) Quality of the evidence
Assumed risk ControlCorresponding risk Acupuncture plus analgesic

Response rate for relieving pain
pain scale
Follow-up: 7–30 days
772 per 1000

816 per 1000
Study population
911 per 1000 (841 to 980)
963 per 1000 (889 to 1000)
RR 1.18 (1.09 to 1.27)845 (11 studies)⊕  ⊝  ⊝  ⊝
Very low1,4

Onset time of pain relief
Follow-up: 7–28 days
The mean onset time of pain relief in the intervention groups was
1.06 standard deviations lower
(1.34 to 0.79 lower)
230 (4 studies)⊕  ⊝  ⊝  ⊝
Very low1,2,3

Duration of pain relief
Follow-up: 7–28 days
The mean duration of pain relief in the intervention groups was
1.03 standard deviations higher
(0.49 to 1.57 higher)
268 (5 studies)⊕  ⊝  ⊝  ⊝
Very low1,2,3,4

Follow-up: 7–30 days
The mean score of QOLl in the intervention groups was
1.44 standard deviations higher
(0.43 to 2.44 higher)
196 (3 studies)⊕  ⊝  ⊝  ⊝
Very low1,2,3,4

None of the trials were blinded; most of them did not mention randomization process and allocation concealment.
Total sample size is less than calculated optimal information size.
Published evidence is limited to a small number of trials, all of which are showing benefits.
Confidence intervals with minimal overlap, the heterogeneity is significant.
The GRADE profile noted “” means the basis for the assumed risk (e.g., the median control group risk across studies) is provided in footnotes. The corresponding risk (and its 95% confidence interval) is based on the assumed risk in the comparison group and the relative effect of the intervention (and its 95% CI).