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08 May 2018 : Clinical Research  

Efficacy of Acupuncture Therapy for Chemotherapy-Related Cognitive Impairment in Breast Cancer Patients

Taishan TongACDEF, Chunqin PeiCD, Jun ChenBD, Qing LvBF, Fuquan ZhangAF, Zaohuo ChengAE

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.909712

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24: CLR2919-2927

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Chemotherapy can cause adverse effects such as chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment (CRCI). In this prospective study, the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine acupuncture therapy in relieving CRCI and its impact on serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) are evaluated.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Eighty patients were randomly divided into a treatment group and a control group with 40 patients in each group. The treatment group was treated at the following acupuncture points: Baihui (DU20), Sishencong (EX-HN1), Shenting (DU24), Zusanli (ST36), Taixi (K13), Dazhong (K14), and Juegu (GB39). Cognitive function was assessed using the functional assessment of cancer treatment cognition test (FACT-COG, version 3), the auditory-verbal learning test (AVLT), the verbal fluency test (VFT), the symbol digit modality test (SDMT), the clock-drawing test (CDT), and the trail-making test part B (TMT-B). In addition, blood serum levels of BDNF were measured before and after treatment. Correlations between change in BDNF levels and cognitive function were also analyzed.

RESULTS: CRCI was ameliorated in the acupuncture treatment group, with scores on FACT-COG, AVLT-recognition and CDT assessments all significantly increased (P<0.05 in all cases). In addition, serum BDNF levels after acupuncture treatment were significantly higher than before treatment (t=3.242, P<0.01). Moreover, the level of BDNF was positively correlated with the total score of FACT-COG, AVLT-recognition, and CDT (r=0.694, 0.628, and 0.532, respectively; all P<0.05). The control group showed no statistically significant difference in any measures over the same period.

CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture therapy is effective in the treatment of CRCI in breast cancer patients through a mechanism that may be related to an increase of BDNF.

Keywords: Acupuncture - methods, Breast, Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor - chemical synthesis

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750