A Pilot Study of Acupuncture to Reduce Nerve Damage in Patients Receiving Paclitaxel for Breast Cancer

Full Title

Acupuncture to Reduce Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy Severity During Neoadjuvant or Adjuvant Weekly Paclitaxel Chemotherapy in Breast Cancer Patients: A Pilot Study


Paclitaxel (Taxol) is commonly used to treat breast cancer. However, it can cause nerve damage such as pain, tingling, and numbness in the arms and/or legs. This side effect is called peripheral neuropathy, and it can significantly reduce a person’s quality of life.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles into “energy points” on the body, with the aim of restoring health and well-being. It has been used widely to treat pain, such as lower back pain and joint pain. In this study, researchers are assessing the use of acupuncture to ease peripheral neuropathy in women receiving paclitaxel for breast cancer.

Patients who participate in this study will be followed to determine if they develop nerve damage while receiving paclitaxel. Patients who develop symptoms of nerve damage that affect their function will receive one acupuncture treatment each week until the end of chemotherapy.


To be eligible for this study, patients must meet several criteria, including but not limited to the following:

  • Patients must be planning to receive chemotherapy for stage I-III breast cancer that includes weekly paclitaxel.
  • Patients should be able to speak English so they can communicate how their symptoms feel as they go through the study.
  • Patients must be able to walk and do routine activities for more than half of their normal waking hours.
  • This study is for patients age 21 and older.

For more information about this study and to inquire about eligibility, please contact Dr. Ting Bao at 646-888-0865.