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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 5645632, 15 pages
Research Article

Acupoints Stimulation for Anxiety and Depression in Cancer Patients: A Quantitative Synthesis of Randomized Controlled Trials

1The Fifth Affiliated (Zhuhai) Hospital of Zunyi Medical University, No. 1439, Zhufeng Road, Zhuhai, Guangdong 519100, China
2School of Nursing, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. 1, Qiuyang Road, Fuzhou, Fujian 350122, China
3The Second Affiliated People’s Hospital, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. 282, Wusi Road, Fuzhou, Fujian 350003, China

Received 13 June 2015; Revised 9 November 2015; Accepted 17 November 2015

Academic Editor: Mary K. Garcia

Copyright © 2016 Tao Wang 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.


This study aims at concluding the current evidence on the therapeutic effects of acupoints stimulation for cancer patients with anxiety and depression. Randomized controlled trials using acupoints stimulation for relieving anxiety and/or depression in cancer patients were searched, and 11 studies were finally included, of which eight trials compared acupoints stimulation with standard methods of treatment/care, and acupoints stimulation showed significantly better effects in improving depression than using standard methods of treatment/care. Four studies compared true acupoints stimulation with sham methods, and no significant differences can be found between groups for either depression or anxiety, although the pooled effects still favored true intervention. For the five studies that evaluated sleep quality, the results were conflicting, with three supporting the superiority of acupoints stimulation in improving sleep quality and two demonstrating no differences across groups. Acupoints stimulation seems to be an effective approach in relieving depression and anxiety in cancer patients, and placebo effects may partially contribute to the benefits. However, the evidence is not conclusive due to the limited number of included studies and the clinical heterogeneity identified among trials. More rigorous designed randomized, sham-controlled studies are necessary in future research.