Acupuncture in Treating Women With Stage I, Stage II, or Stage III Breast Cancer With Aromatase Inhibitor-Related Joint Pain

2014-07-23 21:11:48 | BioPortfolio


RATIONALE: Acupuncture may help relieve moderate or severe joint pain caused by aromatase inhibitors.

PURPOSE: This randomized phase II trial is studying acupuncture in treating women with stage I, stage II, or stage III breast cancer with aromatase inhibitor-related joint pain.



I. To determine the overall effect of acupuncture for reducing arthralgia among breast cancer survivors (BCS) receiving AIs.

II. To explore the specific effect of acupuncture needling for reducing arthralgia among BCS receiving AIs.

III. To elucidate the relationship between response expectancy measured by the Acupuncture Expectancy Scale (AES) and clinical response to acupuncture defined as percent reduction of BPI pain severity score at the end of intervention.


I. To explore the effects of acupuncture on other common symptoms including fatigue, insomnia, and psychological distress among BCS who experience joint pain.

II. To determine the correlation among pain and fatigue, insomnia, and psychological distress using previously validated instruments.

III. To explore the effects of acupuncture on quality of life among BCS who experience joint pain.

IV. To explore the effect of acupuncture on objective measure of sleep and activity.

V. To identify potential genetic determinants to response to acupuncture.


Patients are randomized to 1 of 3 treatment arms.

ARM I (Acupuncture): Patients undergo 10, 20-minute sessions of acupuncture over 8 weeks (twice weekly for 2 weeks and 6 weekly treatments).

ARM II (Placebo): Patients undergo 10, 20-minute sessions of sham acupuncture treatments over 8 weeks (twice weekly for 2 weeks and 6 weekly treatments) via Streitberger needles at non-acupuncture points.

ARM III (Control): Wait-list control patients are contacted by phone at the same frequency as real and placebo acupuncture groups for data collection at weeks 1, 4, and 8.

After completion of study treatment, patients are followed at 4 weeks.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment


Breast Cancer


acupuncture therapy, sham intervention


Abramson Cancer Center of The University of Pennsylvania
United States




Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-23T21:11:48-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Abnormal accumulation of lymph in the arm, shoulder and breast area associated with surgical or radiation breast cancer treatments (e.g., MASTECTOMY).

Acupuncture therapy by inserting needles in the ear. It is used to control pain and for treating various ailments.

Metastatic breast cancer characterized by EDEMA and ERYTHEMA of the affected breast due to LYMPHATIC METASTASIS and eventual obstruction of LYMPHATIC VESSELS by the cancer cells.

The occupational discipline of the traditional Chinese methods of ACUPUNCTURE THERAPY for treating disease by inserting needles along specific pathways or meridians.

A type of massage in which finger pressure on specific body sites is used to promote healing, relieve fatigue, etc. Although the anatomical locations are the same as the ACUPUNCTURE POINTS used in ACUPUNCTURE THERAPY (hence acu-), no needle or other acupuncture technique is employed in acupressure. (From Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2d ed). Shiatsu is a modern outgrowth that focuses more on prevention than healing.

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