Acupunct Med 30:4-7 doi:10.1136/acupmed-2011-010034
  • Original papers

Acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN): a pilot study using neurography

Editor's ChoicePress Release
  1. Susanne Epplée1
  1. 1HanseMerkur Center for TCM at the University Medical Centre, Hamburg, Germany
  2. 2Department of Neurophysiology, Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Abel Salazar, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Sven Schroeder, HanseMerkur Centre for TCM at the University Medical Center, UKE-Campus, House O55, Martinistrasse 52, 20246, Hamburg, Germany; schroeder{at}
  1. Contributors SS designed data collection tools, monitored data collection for the whole trial, wrote the statistical analysis plan, cleaned and analysed the data and drafted and revised the paper. MH-G analysed the data and drafted and revised the paper. ES monitored data collection and revised the draft paper.

  • Received 22 May 2011
  • Accepted 11 October 2011
  • Published Online First 5 December 2011


Objectives Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) can produce severe neurological deficits and neuropathic pain and is a potential reason for terminating or suspending chemotherapy treatments. Specific and effective curative treatments are lacking.

Methods A pilot study was conducted to evaluate the therapeutic effect of acupuncture on CIPN as measured by changes in nerve conduction studies (NCS) in six patients treated with acupuncture for 10 weeks in addition to best medical care and five control patients who received the best medical care but no specific treatment for CIPN.

Results In five of the six patients treated with acupuncture, NCS improved after treatment. In the control group, three of five patients did not show any difference in NCS, one patient improved and one showed impaired NCS.

Conclusion The data suggest that acupuncture has a positive effect on CIPN. The encouraging results of this pilot study justify a randomised controlled trial of acupuncture in CIPN on the basis of NCS.


  • Competing interests None

  • Patient consent Obtained

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was obtained from the Ethik Kommission der Hamburger Ärztekammer

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed