Acupuncture May Improved Hot Flashes in Breast Cancer Patients Interview with:
Giorgia Razzini, PhD

Unit of Medical Oncology Civil Hospital
Carpi Italy; What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Dr. Razzini: Hot flashes experienced by breast cancer patients is a significant clinical problem because there are few reliable treatment that are free of side effects and it sometime reduces compliance with endocrine therapy for prevention of cancer recurrence. Menopausal symtoms overall  heavily impact on quality of life..

Acclimat found that acupuncture combined with self-care for 3 months, is associated with significantly lower hot flash scores, compared to self-care alone ( advices on diet, physical exercise and psycoloigical support if needed).

Beneficial effects persisted up to 6 months follow-up. These effects were not associated with significant adverse events. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? 

Dr. Razzini:  Research suggests that breast cancer women do not receive adequate care for menopausal symptoms in the clinical practice of most oncology department. Our study showed that oncologists can offer them specific integrative management strategy for menopausal symptoms including acupuncture and enhanced self-care to women with breast cancer, particularly in younger women when treatment with hormonal treatment is recommended, in order to help women to stay on their therapy and improve their quality of life. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Razzini:   Several previous study of acupuncture for hot flashes used sham acupuncture as control, which may be useful in figuring out what the active components in acupuncture treatment are. Our study takes a pragmatic approach, using enhanced self-care as control. This approach is justifiable when the primary goal is to reduce patient’s suffering and improve clinical practice, because there is no good alternative currently. Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Dr. Razzini:   Several studies have been published over the years investigating acupuncture as a treatment option. What this study adds to the existing literature is that it is a multi-center randomized pragmatic study, the design and conduct of the trial has been rigorous, Acclimat had appropriately developed intervention by identifying menopausal symptoms to six sub types according to TCM diagnosis and used standardized acupuncture points  shared by all acupuncturist.

We must also recognize that lifestyle modifications can improve vasomotor symptoms .


 Razzini G, et al “Acupuncture as an integrative approach for the treatment of hot flashes in women with breast cancer: a prospective multicenter randomized controlled trial (AcCliMaT) J Clin Oncol 2016; DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2015.63.2893.