An American pilot study suggests that acupuncture may have a protective effect on white blood cell (WBC) populations in women undergoing chemotherapy for gynaecological malignancies. Twenty-one ovarian cancer patients received either active or sham acupuncture while undergoing myelosuppressive chemotherapy. A standardised acupuncture protocol involving manual and electrical stimulation was applied two to three times per week for a total of 10 sessions, starting one week before the second cycle of chemotherapy. The median leukocyte value in the acupuncture group was significantly higher on the first day of the third cycle of chemotherapy than in the control (8600 cell / mL versus 4400 cell / mL), and the incidence of grade two to four leukopenia was less in the acupuncture group than in the sham group (30% versus 90%). The authors conclude that acupuncture treatment resulted in clinically relevant trends of higher WBC values during chemotherapy, which suggests a potential myeloprotective effect of acupuncture. (Acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced neutropenia in patients with gynecologic malignancies: a pilot randomized, sham-controlled clinical trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Jul;15(7):745-53).

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