Side effects of prostate Ca hormone therapy relieved with acupuncture

May 5, 2011

Acupuncture appears to provide long-lasting relief to hot flashes, heart palpitations, and anxiety due to side effects of hormone treatment for prostate cancer, according to a recent study.

Acupuncture appears to provide long-lasting relief to hot flashes, heart palpitations, and anxiety due to side effects of hormone treatment for prostate cancer, according to a recent study.

In a prospective study conducted in the department of radiation oncology and the acupuncture section of New York Methodist Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, New York, researchers evaluated 14 men who were experiencing hot flashes due to hormone therapy for prostate cancer. Upon enrolling in the study, the men were given a hot flash score to evaluate their discomfort from daily hot flashes. The mean initial hot flash score was 28.3.

Patients then received acupuncture twice a week for 30 minutes at a time for 4 weeks. Two weeks after receiving acupuncture, their hot flash score was measured again and had dropped more than half to 10.3. At 6 weeks post-treatment, the patients’ hot flash score was 7.5. After 8 months, the men were evaluated again and their mean hot flash score was 7.

"Our study shows that physicians and patients have an additional treatment for something that affects many men undergoing prostate cancer treatment and actually has long-term benefits, as opposed to more side effects," said lead author Hani Ashamalla, MD, of New York Methodist Hospital. "We are now designing a randomized clinical trial to further evaluate acupuncture after prostate cancer treatment."

Results from the study were published in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology • Biology • Physics (2011; 79:1358-63).