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

Acupunct Med. 2012 Mar;30(1):4-7. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2011-010034. Epub 2011 Dec 5.


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.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Neural Conduction*
  • Neuralgia / chemically induced
  • Neuralgia / therapy
  • Neurologic Examination / methods
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / therapy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Standard of Care


  • Antineoplastic Agents