Xerostomia (dry mouth) after head/neck radiation is a common problem among cancer patients. This trial aimed to determine whether acupuncture can prevent xerostomia among head/neck patients undergoing radiotherapy. A randomized, controlled trial among patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma was conducted comparing acupuncture to standard care. Acupuncture was found to reduce the occurrence and severity of xerostomia as early as 3 weeks into radiotherapy, with benefits remaining 6 months after the end of treatment. The authors conclude "Acupuncture given concurrently with radiotherapy significantly reduced xerostomia and improved quality of life".
Meng Z, Garcia MK, Hu C, Chiang J, Chambers M, Rosenthal DI, Peng H, Zhang Y, Zhao Q, Zhao G, Liu L, Spelman A, Palmer JL, Wei Q, Cohen L. Randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for prevention of radiation-induced xerostomia among patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Cancer. 2011 Nov 9 [Epub ahead of print]