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01.12.2014 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

Journal of Hematology & Oncology 1/2014

Electroacupuncture for thalidomide/bortezomib-induced peripheral neuropathy in multiple myeloma: a feasibility study

Journal of Hematology & Oncology > Ausgabe 1/2014
M Kay Garcia, Lorenzo Cohen, Ying Guo, Yuhong Zhou, Bing You, Joseph Chiang, Robert Z Orlowski, Donna Weber, Jatin Shah, Raymond Alexanian, Sheeba Thomas, Jorge Romaguera, Liang Zhang, Maria Badillo, Yiming Chen, Qi Wei, Richard Lee, Kay Delasalle, Vivian Green, Michael Wang
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1756-8722-7-41) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

All authors participated in approval of the final manuscript. MW obtained funding and was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the study. MG, LC, YG, MB, YC, and QW participated in data collection, management, analysis, and interpretation. ZY, YB, JC, RO, DW, JS, RA, ST, JR, RL, LZ, KD, and VG provided expertise during study development, design, data collection, interpretation, and writing of the manuscript.



This single-arm study evaluated feasibility, safety, and initial efficacy of electroacupuncture for thalidomide/bortezomib-induced peripheral neuropathy (PN) in cancer patients with multiple myeloma.


Patients with neuropathy ≥ grade 2 received 20 acupuncture treatments over 9 weeks.


For the 19 evaluable patients, Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy/Gynecological Oncology Group-Neurotoxicity (FACT/GOG/NTX) mean (SD) scores improved significantly between baseline and week 13 (20.8 [9.6] vs 13.2 [8.5], p = 0.0002). Moderate effect size differences began on week 4, with the largest effect size differences found at week 9 for FACT/GOG/NTX scores, worst pain in the last 24 hours, and pain severity (Cohen’s d = 1.43, 1.19, and 1.08, respectively) and continuing through week 13 (Cohen’s d = 0.86, 0.88, and 0.90, respectively). From baseline to week 13, additional significant improvements were seen as follows: postural stability (1.0 [0.6] vs 0.8 [0.4], p = 0.02); coin test (10.0 [7.4] vs 5.6 [1.9], p < 0.0001); button test (96.1 [144.4] vs 54.9 [47.3], p < 0.0001); and walking test (21.6 [10.0] vs 17.2 [7.7], p = 0.0003). No significant changes were seen with NCS.


Acupuncture may help patients experiencing thalidomide- or bortezomib-induced PN. Larger, randomized, clinical trials are needed.

Trial registration Identifier: NCT00891618.

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