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The Efficacy and Safety of Acupuncture for Preventing Radiation Pneumonitis in Patients With Lung Cancer: A Prospective, Single-Blinded, Randomized Pilot Proof-of-Principle Study

 Moonkyoo Kong  ;  Seung Hyeun Lee  ;  Jaehyo Kim  ;  Beom-Joon Lee  ;  Kwan-Il Kim 
 INTEGRATIVE CANCER THERAPIES, Vol.19 : 1534735420908327, 2020-02 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Acupuncture Therapy / methods* ; Female ; Humans ; Incidence ; Lung Neoplasms* / pathology ; Lung Neoplasms* / radiotherapy ; Male ; Middle Aged ; Neoplasm Staging ; Pilot Projects ; Proof of Concept Study ; Radiation Pneumonitis* / diagnosis ; Radiation Pneumonitis* / epidemiology ; Radiation Pneumonitis* / etiology ; Radiation Pneumonitis* / prevention & control ; Respiratory Function Tests / methods ; Treatment Outcome ; Walk Test / methods
radiation pneumonitis ; lung cancer ; radiotherapy ; acupuncture ; pulmonary function
Purpose: We evaluated the efficacy and safety of acupuncture for prevention of radiation pneumonitis in patients with lung cancer. Methods: Twenty-five patients were prospectively enrolled in this study and randomized to either intervention group or control group. The patients assigned to the intervention group received 15 minutes of acupuncture treatment twice a week. The patients assigned to the control group received RT alone without acupuncture treatment. The primary endpoint was incidence of radiation pneumonitis. The secondary endpoints were FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 second), DLCO (diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide), 6-minute walk distance, and modified Borg scale. Results: The intervention group showed lower incidences of grade 3 and grade >= 2 radiation pneumonitis than the control group (10% vs 30% for grade 3 and 50% vs 60% for grade >= 2). In the control group, mean DLCO value was decreased from 62.1% at baseline to 49.1% after RT (P = .004). The DLCO was also decreased after RT in the intervention group, but the decrement was not statistically significant (56.7% at baseline and 50.9% after RT, P = .204). The FEV1 and 6-minute walk distance were decreased after RT in the control group. However, FEV1 and 6-minute walk distance were increased after RT in the intervention group. Conclusions: This study found that patients who received acupuncture treatment showed a lower incidence of radiation pneumonitis and a protective effect against aggravation of pulmonary function after RT in patients with lung cancer. To confirm the results of this study, well-designed randomized studies with large sample sizes will be required.
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