Effects and mechanisms of transcutaneous electroacupuncture on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting

Xing Zhang, Hai Feng Jin, Yi Hong Fan, Bin Lu, Li Na Meng, Jiande D.Z. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Nausea and vomiting are one of the major complications of chemotherapy for cancers. The aim of this study is to investigate the emetic effects and mechanisms involving serotonin and dopamine of needleless transcutaneous electroacupuncture (TEA) at Neiguan (PC6) and Jianshi (PC5) on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in patients with cancers. Seventy-two patients with chemotherapy were randomly divided into sham-TEA group (sham-TEA, n = 34) and TEA group (n = 38). TEA was performed at PC 6 and PC 5 (1 h, bid) in combination with granisetron. Sham-TEA was delivered at nonacupoints using the same parameters. We found the following. (1) In the acute phase, the conventional antiemetic therapy using Ondansetron effectively reduced nausea and vomiting; the addition of TEA did not show any additive effects. In the delayed phase, however, TEA significantly increased the rate of complete control (P < 0.01) and reduced the nausea score (P < 0.05), compared with sham-TEA. (2) TEA significantly reduced serum levels of 5-HT and dopamine in comparison with sham-TEA. Those results demonstrate that needleless transcutaneous electroacupuncture at PC6 using a watch-size digital stimulator improves emesis and reduces nausea in the delayed phase of chemotherapy in patients with cancers. This antiemetic effect is possibly mediated via mechanisms involving serotonin and dopamine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number860631
JournalEvidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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