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Using Daily Self-administered Indirect Moxibustion to Zusanli St-36 to Reduce Chemotherapy Induced Pancytopenia: a Feasibility Study (NCT02781155)

British Acupuncture Council
This study investigates whether it is feasible to teach cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy to self-administer daily moxibustion to reduce chemotherapy side effects. Moxibustion is a therapy used in traditional Chinese medicine that uses heat.
  • Other: Moxibustion
    Participants are taught to self administer moxibustion to acupuncture point Zusanli St-36 daily throughout the course of their chemotherapy
    • Moxa
Ages eligible for Study
18 Years to 75 Years
Genders eligible for Study
Accepts Healthy Volunteers
Inclusion Criteria:
  • with breast, gynaecologic, or colorectal cancer who are prescribed radical or adjuvant chemotherapy in the early disease setting, or first or second line chemotherapy is in the metastatic setting
  • about to commence a course of chemotherapy for which granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) is not routinely indicated
  • with a life expectancy of more than six months
  • with blood cell counts within the normal range
  • with calculated creatinine levels of ≥ 50ml/min
  • English speaking
  • able to understand instructions for self-administration of moxibustion and carry out the procedure
  • able to give informed consent
Exclusion Criteria:
  • having a haematological cancer diagnosis
  • prescribed a chemotherapy regimen for which G-CSF is indicated
  • having third or fourth line chemotherapy
  • having metastatic bone cancer
  • who have concomitant severe medical problems preventing participation
  • with cognitive impairment that would impact participant's ability to safely administer self-moxibustion
  • having renal dysfunction
  • with lymphedema in the lower body.
Chemotherapy drugs are used to treat cancer cells. However, they can also affect bone marrow and reduce the ability to make certain types of blood cells. Low white blood cell counts can leave patients vulnerable to infection. Low red blood cell counts can lead to anaemia and feelings of fatigue and weakness. Low platelet counts can lead to bruising and bleeding. Blood counts are therefore monitored. If they fall too low, the dose of chemotherapy may be reduced or the time between doses extended. This may affect survival as well as quality of life.

Research studies in China and the West suggest that moxibustion applied by a practitioner can improve blood counts and immunity, and reduce side effects of chemotherapy. Moxibustion (also called moxa) is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that uses heat to stimulate acupuncture points. This heat comes from a smouldering herb called mugwort, that is rolled into a cigar shape to gently warm the point. Many patients regard this as a pleasant, relaxing experience.

The researchers will teach patients to self-administer moxa to an acupuncture point just below the knee. This is a feasibility study to see if patients are willing and able to self-administer moxa daily throughout chemotherapy. Patients will keep a moxa diary to record their activity. The researchers will also use a questionnaire to assess whether patients see themselves as active managers of their health. This may help the researchers to screen suitable patients in future studies.

The researchers will also monitor blood counts, any delays or dose reductions to the chemotherapy, and any chemotherapy side effects. Participants will complete quality of life questionnaires at intervals during and after their chemotherapy.

If results are favourable, they will be used to design a randomised controlled trial comparing daily moxibustion with a "no treatment" control arm.

1 locations

United Kingdom (1)
  • Mount Vernon Cancer Centre
    Northwood, Middlesex, United Kingdom, HS6 2RN
Ⅰ, Ⅱ
31 January, 2016
18 May, 2016
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