Acupuncture for Treating Aromatase Inhibitor-Related Arthralgia in Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis



Acupuncture for Treating Aromatase Inhibitor-Related Arthralgia in Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Journal Publication

Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine







Research Type

Systematic Review


CLINICAL trials -- Evaluation
RESEARCH methodology evaluation
ARTHRALGIA -- Treatment
CINAHL (Information retrieval system)
CONFIDENCE intervals
INFORMATION storage & retrieval systems -- Medical care
INFORMATION storage & retrieval systems -- Medicine
ONLINE information services
SYSTEMATIC reviews (Medical research)
EVIDENCE-based medicine
RANDOMIZED controlled trials
TREATMENT effectiveness
AROMATASE inhibitors
DATA analysis -- Software
FUNCTIONAL assessment
DESCRIPTIVE statistics


Purpose: Acupuncture has been used as a complementary medical treatment for arthralgia and other types of pain. The objective of this review is to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of arthralgia in patients with breast cancer who were treated with aromatase inhibitors (AIs). Methods: A literature search was performed, without language restrictions, of 10 databases from their inception through February 2014. The literature reviewed included randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and clinical trials that compared real versus sham acupuncture for the treatment of AI-related musculoskeletal symptoms (AIMSS). The methodologic quality of these trials was assessed by using the modified Jadad Quality Scale. Meta-analytic software (RevMan 5.0) was used to analyze the data. Results: Five To compare the effects of real versus sham acupuncture, five RCTs were assessed by meta-analysis and quality analysis. Three of the RCTs reported favorable effects with regard to use of acupuncture in reducing pain and joint-related symptoms, while the other two RCTs did not. The meta-analysis showed trends toward reduced pain and stiffness in patients given acupuncture compared with those who received sham treatment ( n=82; pain, mean difference: ?2.07 [95% confidence interval (CI), ?4.72 to 0.57]; p=0.12; stiffness, mean difference: ?86.10 [95% CI, ?249.11 to 76.92]; p=0.30), although these differences were not statistically significant. Conclusions: Acupuncture has been reported as a safe and promising treatment for AIMSS, but the present analysis indicated that the effects were not statistically significant. Other outcome measurements, such as imaging studies, would be worth including in future studies to further confirm the efficacy of acupuncture in AIMSS.


Accession Number: 102579991; Source Information: May2015, Vol. 21 Issue 5, p251; Subject Term: CLINICAL trials -- Evaluation; Subject Term: RESEARCH methodology evaluation; Subject Term: ARTHRALGIA -- Treatment; Subject Term: ALTERNATIVE medicine; Subject Term: BREAST tumors; Subject Term: CHI-squared test; Subject Term: CINAHL (Information retrieval system); Subject Term: CONFIDENCE intervals; Subject Term: CYTOKINES; Subject Term: EXPERIMENTAL design; Subject Term: INFORMATION storage & retrieval systems -- Medical care; Subject Term: INFORMATION storage & retrieval systems -- Medicine; Subject Term: MEDLINE; Subject Term: META-analysis; Subject Term: ONLINE information services; Subject Term: PHYSICAL therapy; Subject Term: PROBABILITY theory; Subject Term: WOMEN -- Health; Subject Term: SYSTEMATIC reviews (Medical research); Subject Term: EVIDENCE-based medicine; Subject Term: PROFESSIONAL practice; Subject Term: PAIN measurement; Subject Term: RANDOMIZED controlled trials; Subject Term: TREATMENT effectiveness; Subject Term: POSTMENOPAUSE; Subject Term: AROMATASE inhibitors; Subject Term: DATA analysis -- Software; Subject Term: FUNCTIONAL assessment; Subject Term: ARTHRALGIA; Subject Term: DESCRIPTIVE statistics; Subject Term: ACUPUNCTURE analgesia; Subject Term: EVALUATION; Subject Term: ; Geographic Subject: TAIWAN; Geographic Subject: ; Number of Pages: 10p; ; Document Type: Article;

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