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: Acupuncture is a technique that uses small needles to apply pressure to specific points on the body.
Small randomized controlled trials have studied acupuncture and 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 have shown acupuncture reduced hot flashes more than the sham treatment, while others have 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 70 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
Ee et al. 
Vincent et al. 
de Luca et al. 
Liljegren et al. 
74 breast cancer survivors
Deng et al. 
72breast cancer survivors
Dodin et al. 
Chiu et al. 
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