ACUFOCIN: Randomised clinical trial of ACUpuncture plus standard care versus standard care alone FOr Chemotherapy Induced peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN)


Session type:

Jacqui Stringer1,Andrew Wardley1,David Ryder2
1The Christie NHS Trust,2University of Manchester



CIPN is a dose limiting toxicity, which poses a major clinical challenge. Literature would suggest that acupuncture offers promise in managing neuropathy. This study aims to explore the use of acupuncture with standard care (Acu +SC) against SC alone, to reduce symptoms of CIPN.


A phase II, randomised, parallel group design was used to investigate the effectiveness of a 10 week course of acupuncture to manage CIPN. Patients experiencing CIPN ≥ Grade II (CTCAE v4.03), recording a ‘Most Troublesome’ CIPN symptom score of ≥ 3 using the "Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile" (MYMOP 2), were randomised (1:1) to either Acu+SC or SC alone. The primary end-point was a ≥ 2 point improvement (success) in MYMOP2 score at week 10  (logistic regression adjusted for stratification factors and baseline MYMOP2 score). The necessary sample size was 100 patients;120 were randomised to allow for attrition (90% power; 10% one-sided alpha), for a hypothesised improvement in success proportions from 30% to 55%. 


120 patients were randomised to ACUFOCIN; diagnosis: breast 61 (51%), multiple myeloma 9 (8%), GI 48 (40%), gynaecological 2 (2%). MYMOP2 score for most troubling CIPN symptom at baseline: 3-4 33 (28%), 5-6 87 (73%).  CTCAE CIPN  at baseline; grade II 103 (86%), grade III 17 (14%). Baseline characteristics were balanced between arms. Primary outcome data were available for 108 participants with 36/54 (67%) successes in the Acu+SC arm compared to 18/55 (33%) in the SC arm. Adjusted success odds ratio was 4.3 (95% CI 1.9-9.6; p < 0.001; Acu+SC vs SC). Additionally, 27/53 (51%) participants achieved a CIPN success (grade ≤ I) in the Acu+SC arm compared to 4/56 (7%) in the SC arm with adjusted odds ratio 13.1 (95% CI 4.1-41.7; p < 0.001; Acu+SC vs SC).


In this patient cohort, a 10 week course of acupuncture significantly improved symptoms of CIPN. These results support further investigation within a phase III trial.