This summary table contains detailed information about research studies. Summary tables offer an informative look at the science behind many breast cancer guidelines and recommendations. However, they should be viewed with some caution. In order to read and interpret research tables successfully, it is important to understand some key concepts. Learn how to read a research table.
Introduction: Although menopausal hormone therapy (postmenopausal hormone use) containing estrogen and progestin may ease menopausal symptoms, long-term use increases the risk of breast cancer (see Table 8) . For this reason, many women seek other ways to reduce hot flashes and other symptoms.
Acupuncture is a technique that uses small needles to apply pressure to specific points on the body. Small randomized controlled trials have studied whether acupuncture may offer relief from hot flashes in both cancer-free women and breast cancer survivors. In these trials, women were randomly assigned to get true acupuncture or sham (fake) acupuncture. With sham acupuncture, the needles are placed at non-acupuncture points on the body. To date, study findings are mixed. Some studies showed acupuncture reduced hot flashes more than the sham treatment, while others found no difference between the two.
Although most studies have compared true acupuncture to sham acupuncture, some have compared acupuncture to drug therapies. One small randomized controlled trial compared acupuncture to the antidepressant drug venlafaxine (Effexor) and found they offered similar relief of hot flashes .
Learn more about acupuncture.
Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different types of studies.
Study selection criteria: Randomized controlled trials comparing true acupuncture with sham acupuncture with at least 50 participants and meta-analyses.
Table note: Relative risk above 1 indicates increased risk. Relative risk below 1 indicates decreased risk.
Study Population(number of participants)
True Acupuncture Reduced Hot Flashes More Than Sham Acupuncture?
Randomized controlled trials
Vincent et al. 
de Luca et al. 
Liljegren et al. 
74 breast cancer survivors
Deng et al. 
72breast cancer survivors
Bokmand and Flyger 
60breast cancer survivors
Hervik and Mjaland 
59breast cancer survivors
Kim et al. 
Venzke et al. 
Dodin et al. 
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