Background: Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers and a major cause of death in women worldwide. Chemotherapy is mainly used to treat and control the progression of breast cancer. Leukopenia is the most common side effect of chemotherapy which may decrease immune function and further lead to serious fatal infections. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of acupuncture on regulating hematopoietic function in chemotherapy-induced leukopenia among patients with breast cancer. Methods: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, CINAHL Plus, Web of Science, and Chinese articles in the Airiti Library and China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) databases were searched to August 2021 for papers to include in a systematic review and meta-analysis. A random-effects model was applied. The effect size was calculated by Hedges’ g. Heterogeneity was determined using Cochran’s Q test. Moderator analyses were performed to examine potential sources of heterogeneity. A trial sequential analysis (TSA) was conducted to determine whether the current sample size was sufficient. Results: Ten randomized controlled trials involving 650 participants were eligible for inclusion. Analysis by the random-effects model showed a significant effect by acupuncture of ameliorating leukopenia during chemotherapy. Levels of white blood cells (WBCs) were increased (Hedges’ g = 0.70, P <.001, I2 = 34%), neutrophil counts (Hedges’ g = 0.80, P <.001, I2 = 0%) were significantly enhanced. Moreover, regardless of the manner through which acupuncture was applied, overall values of WBCs increased. Conclusions: The current meta-analysis supports acupuncture possibly ameliorating chemotherapy-induced leukopenia, as WBC and neutrophil values significantly increased after acupuncture in patients undergoing chemotherapy. Additionally, regardless of the type of acupuncture, values of WBCs increased. These findings are actionable and support both the clinical use of acupuncture to relieve chemotherapy-induced leukopenia and further research regarding the use of acupuncture in patients experiencing immunosuppression when undergoing chemotherapy. Trial Registration: PROSPERO-CRD42020215759.
- breast cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine