Long-term follow-up of acupuncture and hormone therapy on hot flushes in women with breast cancer: a prospective, randomized, controlled multicenter trial

Climacteric. 2008 Apr;11(2):166-74. doi: 10.1080/13697130801958709.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of electro-acupuncture (EA) and hormone therapy (HT) on vasomotor symptoms in women with a history of breast cancer.

Methods: Forty-five women were randomized to EA (n = 27) for 12 weeks or HT (n = 18) for 24 months. The number of and distress caused by hot flushes were registered daily before, during and up to 24 months after start of treatment.

Results: In 19 women who completed 12 weeks of EA, the median number of hot flushes/24 h decreased from 9.6 (interquartile range (IQR) 6.6-9.9) at baseline to 4.3 (IQR 1.0-7.1) at 12 weeks of treatment (p < 0.001). At 12 months after start of treatment, 14 women with only the initial 12 weeks of EA had a median number of flushes/24 h of 4.9 (IQR 1.8-7.3), and at 24 months seven women with no other treatment than EA had 2.1 (IQR 1.6-2.8) flushes/24 h. Another five women had a decreased number of flushes after having additional EA. The 18 women with HT had a baseline median number of flushes/24 h of 6.6 (IQR 4.0-8.9), and 0.0 (IQR 0.0-1.6; p = 0.001) at 12 weeks.

Conclusion: Electro-acupuncture is a possible treatment of vasomotor symptoms for women with breast cancer and should be further studied for this group of women.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications*
  • Electroacupuncture / methods*
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hot Flashes / drug therapy*
  • Hot Flashes / epidemiology
  • Hot Flashes / pathology
  • Hot Flashes / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome