Preliminary Effectiveness of Auricular Point Acupressure on Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathy: Part 2 Laboratory-Assessed and Objective Outcomes

      Abstract

      Purpose

      To manage chemotherapy-induced neuropathy (CIN), this paper explores reliable and valid objectives measures to evaluate the treatment effects of auricular point acupressure (APA).

      Design/Method

      This study was a repeated-measures one-group design. Participants received four weeks of APA to manage their CIN. The laboratory-assessed and objective outcomes included quantitative sensory testing, grip and pinch strength, and inflammatory biomarkers. Wilcoxon matched pairs signed-rank tests were conducted to determine change scores of outcomes at pre- vs. post- and pre- vs. 1-month follow-up. Spearman’s rho correlation coefficient was used to examine the linear association of score changes of all objective study outcomes.

      Results

      Comparing pre-and-post APA, (1) the mean score of the monofilament for all lower extremity sites tested decreased after APA, indicating sensory improvement; (2) the suprathreshold pinprick stimuli mean scores on the upper extremities increased, except the scores from the index finger and thumb; (3) the pain tolerance of thumb and trapezius areas increased; (4) decreasing IL1β (p = .05), IFNγ (p = .02), IL-2 (p = .03), IL-6 (p = .05), IL-10 (p = .05), and IP10/CXCL10 (p = .04) were observed pre-post APA. Conditional pain modulation was significantly (p< .05) associated with pain intensity (r = 0.55), tingling (r = 0.59); and IL1β concentration (r = 0.53) pre-post APA. The sustained effects of 4-week APA were observed at the 1-month follow-up.

      Conclusions

      Our study findings demonstrated the promising effectiveness of APA in the management of CIN, and these treatment effects can be assessed using reliable and valid objective measures.

      Clinical Implications

      If the efficacy of APA to manage CIN is confirmed in a larger sample, APA has the potential to be a scalable treatment for CIN because it is a reproducible, standardized, and easy-to-perform intervention.
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