Efficacy of acupuncture in prevention of delayed chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting in gynecologic cancer patients

Gynecol Oncol. 2015 Jan;136(1):82-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2014.10.025. Epub 2014 Oct 31.


Objective: To compare the efficacy between acupuncture and ondansetron in the prevention of delayed chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting (CINV).

Methods: 70 patients were randomized to receive either 1) acupuncture at P6 point before chemotherapy infusion or 2) ondansetron 8 mg intravenously 30 min before chemotherapy infusion in their first cycle with cross-over of antiemetic regimen in the consecutive cycle. All patients received dexamethasone 5mg orally twice a day for 3 days. Patients were given additional does of ondansetron 4 mg orally every 12h if they experienced emesis. Emetic episode, severity of nausea score of 0-10 and adverse events were recorded. Complete response was defined as no nausea, no vomiting and no requirement of additional antiemetic drugs. FACT-G scale was used to evaluate quality of life (QOL) 7 days after each cycle of chemotherapy.

Results: The acupuncture group had a significantly higher rate of complete response in the prevention of delayed CINV (52.8% and 35.7%, P = 0.02). Compared to another group, the acupuncture group reported significantly lower delayed nausea (45.7% and 65.7%, P = 0.004), nausea score (P < 0.001) and fewer dosages of additional oral ondansetron (P = 0.002). Adverse effects were also significantly lower in the acupuncture group with less frequent constipation (P = 0.02) and insomnia (P = 0.01). Overall FACT-G scores were significantly higher in the acupuncture group.

Conclusion: Acupuncture is effective in preventing delayed CINV and in promoting better QOL. With fewer adverse effects, it may be used as an alternative treatment option for CINV.

Keywords: Acupuncture; Chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting; Gynecologic cancer; Quality of life.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods*
  • Antiemetics / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Carboplatin / administration & dosage
  • Carboplatin / adverse effects
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / chemically induced
  • Nausea / prevention & control*
  • Ondansetron / therapeutic use
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects
  • Vomiting / chemically induced
  • Vomiting / prevention & control*


  • Antiemetics
  • Ondansetron
  • Carboplatin
  • Paclitaxel

Associated data

  • TCTR/20131105001