Acupuncture with enhanced self-care may be an effective integrative intervention for better quality of life and the management of hot flashes in women with breast cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

Researchers led by Grazi Lesi, MD, of the Bologna Local Health Authority in Italy conducted a randomized, controlled trial of 105 women who were given enhanced self-care and 85 who were given acupuncture and enhanced self-care.

All patients were stratified for hormonal therapy and received a booklet with information about climacteric syndrome and its management, which was to be followed for at least 12 weeks.

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Primary outcome was hot flash score after 12 weeks, which was calculated as the frequency multiplied by average severity of hot flashes, while secondary outcomes were climacteric symptoms and quality of life.

The acupuncture group received 10 traditional acupuncture treatment sessions involving needling of predefined acupoints.

The study found that acupuncture plus enhanced self-care was associated with a significantly lower hot flash score compared to enhanced self-care alone at the end of treatment as well as at 3- and 6-month post-treatment follow-up.

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Additionally, acupuncture was associated with fewer climacteric symptoms and higher quality of life in the vasomotor, physical, and psychosocial dimensions.


  1. Lesi G, Musti MA, Stivanello E, 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]. J Clin Oncol. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.63.2893.