Acupuncture for Cancer-Related Fatigue in Patients With Breast Cancer: A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial
Purpose We aimed to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture for cancer-related fatigue (CRF) in patients with breast cancer.
Patients and Methods We conducted a pragmatic, randomized controlled trial comparing acupuncture with enhanced usual care. Three hundred two outpatients with breast cancer participated. We randomly assigned 75 patients to usual care and 227 patients to acupuncture plus usual care (random assignment of 1:3 respectively) with minimization controlling for baseline general fatigue and maintenance treatment. Treatment was delivered by acupuncturists once a week for 6 weeks through needling three pairs of acupoints. The usual care group received a booklet with information about fatigue and its management. Primary outcome was general fatigue at 6 weeks, measured with the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI). Other measurements included the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–General quality-of-life scale, and expectation of acupuncture effect. Analyses were by intention to treat.
Conclusion Acupuncture is an effective intervention for managing the symptom of CRF and improving patients’ quality of life.