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Acupuncture for the relief of hot flashes in breast cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and observational studies

1 Department of General Surgery, Gansu Provincial Hospital, Lanzhou 730000, China
2 Department of Mini-Invasive Surgery, Linhe People's Hospital of Inner Mongolia, Linhe 015000, China
3 Department of Emergency, Gansu Provincial Hospital, Lanzhou 730000, China

Correspondence Address:
Dong-Zhi Zhang,
204#, Donggang West Road, Lanzhou City, Gansu Province
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

Objective: To critically assess the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for treating hot flashes (HFs) among breast cancer (BC) patients, and to get much more highly compelling evidence then to guide clinical practice. Methods: Comprehensive systematic literature searches were carried out for identifying randomized controlled trials and observational studies (OSs) published before January 2015. The meta-analysis (MA) was performed by Review Manager 5 software if data could be merged routinely, if not descriptions would be given. Results: A total of 18 studies were eligible ultimately. With respect to HFs frequency, the MA during treatment showed a significant difference (MD=–1.78, 95% confidence intervals [95% CIs]: –3.42-–0.14), but no statistical differences were observed when posttreatment or follow-up period. While electroacupuncture versus applied relaxation, they both helped to promote HFs markedly but did not reveal statistically significance between them. Referring to Kupperman's index, all the treatment brought out great assistance when compared with baseline conditions, and there was significant difference between real acupuncture sham acupuncture (posttreatment: MD=–4.40, 95% CI: –6.77--–2.03; follow-up: MD=–4.30, 95% CI: –6.52-–2.08). In terms of OS, 7 prospective single arm studies focused on exploring the efficacy of traditional acupuncture, and all revealed moderate or great benefit for BC patients suffering from HFs. Conclusions: Acupuncture still appeared to be an efficacious therapeutic strategy, especially for the less/no side effects. Because of its widespread acceptance and encouraging effectiveness for improving HFs, much more high.quality studies are in need urgently.

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