Women with breast cancer who used acupuncture plus enhanced self-care to manage their hot flashes and climacteric symptoms were better able to manage their symptoms compared with those who used enhanced self-care alone, a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has shown.1

A pragmatic, randomized controlled trial was conducted to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture in the management of hot flashes in women with breast cancer.

In the 12-week trial, 190 women with breast cancer were randomly assigned 1:1 to acupuncture plus enhanced self-care (n = 85) or enhanced self-care alone (n = 105). Both groups received information about climacteric syndrome and its management to follow for the duration of the study. The acupuncture group also received 10 traditional acupuncture treatments involving needling of predefined acupoints.

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Primary outcome was hot flash score and secondary outcomes were climacteric symptoms and quality of life. Hot flash score was calculated as the frequency multiplied by the average severity of hot flashes.

Climacteric symptoms and quality of life were measured with the Greene Climacteric and Menopause Quality of Life scales. In addition, health outcomes were measured in follow-up visits for up to 6 months after the 12-week treatment. The researchers also evaluated expectation and satisfaction of treatment effect and safety. Intention-to-treat analyses were used.

Hot flash score was significantly lower in the women who received acupuncture plus enhanced self-care at the end of the treatment period (P < .001) and at the 3-month and 6-month follow-up visits (P = .0028 and P = .001, respectively). In addition, the acupuncture group reported fewer climacteric symptoms and higher quality of life in the vasomotor, physical, and psychosocial dimensions (P < .05).


1. Lesi G, Razzini G, Musti MA, et al. Acupuncture as an integrative approach for the treatment of hot flashes in women with breast cancer: a prospective multicenter randomized controlled trial (AcCliMaT) [published online ahead of print March 28, 2016]. doi:10.1200/JCO.2015.63.2893.