Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is one of the most common and severe toxicities caused by certain chemotherapies affecting 30-40% of breast cancer patients. CIPN symptoms include pain, tingling, and numbness which can increase the risk of falls and decrease quality of life. As a result of CIPN, chemotherapy doses are reduced, delayed, or even discontinued, although receiving suboptimal doses of chemotherapy can jeopardize treatment outcomes. Furthermore, the effects of CIPN can last months to years after completion of chemotherapy. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop effective prevention strategies. Acupuncture has had positive results in a number of small and lower level of evidence studies. For example, in one study of breast cancer patients who developed CIPN that were treated with weekly acupuncture, despite continuation of full dose chemotherapy, 26 out of 27 patients experienced stabilization or improvement of CIPN symptoms. This phase II study will assess the effectiveness of real acupuncture versus sham acupuncture (a type of “fake” acupuncture) in patients with early-stage breast cancer who are receiving curative intent neurotoxic chemotherapy as measured by the Neuropathic Pain Scale.
Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT05458284