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Effectiveness and safety of acupuncture moxibustion therapy used in breast cancer-related lymphedema: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Jin H, Xiang Y, Feng Y, Zhang Y, Liu S, Ruan S, Zhou H
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2020;(3237451):Epub
systematic review

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture moxibustion therapy (AMT) for the breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL). METHODS: Four English databases (Medline, PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane CENTRAL) and four Chinese databases were searched from their inception to Feb 1, 2020. Eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating AMT against any type of controlled intervention in patients for BCRL and assessing clinically relevant outcomes (total effective rate, circumference difference, and Karnofsky performance score) were included. The methodological quality of all selected trials was estimated in accordance with the guidelines published by the Cochrane Collaboration. Review Manager 5.3 was used to conduct analyses. RESULTS: Twelve eligible RCTs are confirmed. Most of the trials selected are regarded as low methodological quality. Compared with Western medicine, physiotherapy, and functional training, traditional AMT has significantly higher treatment effect (RR 1.03; 95% CI 1.22 to 1.45; p < 0.00001). In comparison with physiotherapy, AMT is better in reducing edema symptoms (MD -0.77; 95% CI -1.13 to 0.41; p < 0.00001). Moreover, pooled results demonstrate that AMT results in better outcomes than functional training and Western medicine in improving Karnofsky performance score of BCRL patients (SMD 0.69; 95% CI 0.38 to 1.00; p < 0.00001). CONCLUSION: This systematic review and meta-analysis provides evidence that AMT is serviceable and safe in treating BCRL. With the limited number of available studies and methodology drawbacks, further high-quality RCTs with reasonable designs are still warranted.

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