Most head and neck cancer patients treated with radiation therapy develop long-term treatment-related dry mouth, or xerostomia, which can negatively impact quality of life (QOL) and oral health.
Available therapies offer limited benefit and are associated with additional side effects, necessitating new treatment options.
Previous studies suggested acupuncture during radiation treatment may reduce the severity of xerostomia symptoms, but large trials were needed to evaluate the approach for chronic xerostomia.
A Phase III trial led by Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., demonstrated that true acupuncture (TA) was more effective in treating chronic xerostomia and improving QOL than sham acupuncture (SA) or a wait list control (WLC) group receiving standard oral hygiene.
The study enrolled 258 patients across 33 sites that are part of the Wake Forest Community Oncology Research Program Research Base.
Participants were experiencing xerostomia for at least one year post-radiation therapy — the average was four years — and were randomized to either TA, SA or WCL.
During the 12-week follow-up, significant group differences between the TA and WLC groups emerged, but no differences between SA and WLC.
Twelve weeks after treatment, patients receiving TA had statistically and clinically significant improvements in QOL over SA and WLC, with no differences between SA and WLC.
The findings suggest that acupuncture should be considered as a treatment option for chronic radiation-induced xerostomia.
Cohen will present the findings on June 6.
Source: MD Anderson Cancer Centre
The World Cancer Declaration recognises that to make major reductions in premature deaths, innovative education and training opportunities for healthcare workers in all disciplines of cancer control need to improve significantly.
ecancer plays a critical part in improving access to education for medical professionals.
Every day we help doctors, nurses, patients and their advocates to further their knowledge and improve the quality of care. Please make a donation to support our ongoing work.
Thank you for your support.