Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE, on Non-Pharmacological Pain Management in Cancer Survivors

July 10, 2020

At the 2020 ASCO Virtual Program, Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE, presented a study designed to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of electro-acupuncture and auricular acupuncture versus usual care in managing pain in cancer survivors.

At the 2020 ASCO Virtual Program, Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE – who is chief of Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – presented a study designed to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of electro-acupuncture and auricular acupuncture versus usual care in managing pain in cancer survivors.

“Specifically for electro-acupuncture at the acupuncture points have been associated with the release of endogenous opioids. Regular acupuncture works by putting needles in the ear that can cause some release of endogenous opioids or modulation that relieves pain,” he explained.

In an interview with CancerNetwork, Mao discussed the study findings.

Transcription:

We designed this trial our first goal is trying to determine either of those treatments are effective for managing pain in cancer survivors. So what we found that both electro acupuncture and your acupuncture are more effective in reducing pain intensity for cancer survivors. So the average pain reductions is approximately a 2-point reduction which is a clinically meaningful reduction. And then once we shown they're better than usual care, we compared whether that your acupuncture is as good as EA, electro acupuncture in reducing pain. However, we found that that ear acupuncture is inferior to electro acupuncture in reducing pain at the same time, about 10% of the patients getting the ear acupuncture, have ear discomfort they cannot tolerate the treatment they have to stop the treatment person, EAA. So group very only one person out of entire group we stopped a treatment so, so clearly I think we found that overall, both treatments are effective, but EA is much better tolerated than a regular acupuncture.