Can acupuncture reduce treatment-related pain for women with early-stage breast cancer?

Bottom Line: Treatment for breast cancer with aromatase inhibitors often results in joint pain, which can contribute to treatment nonadherence. Several small studies have suggested that acupuncture may decrease aromatase inhibitor-related joint pain. In a randomized trial that included 226 postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer who were taking an aromatase inhibitor and experiencing joint pain, women who received acupuncture twice a week for six weeks had a greater reduction in pain compared with sham acupuncture (received acupuncture at non-acupuncture points) or those who did not receive any acupuncture. The observed improvement was of uncertain clinical importance.

Authors: Dawn L. Hershman, M.D., M.S., of NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, and coauthors

To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jama.2018.8907)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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