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Acupuncture may provide benefits to patients with gastrointestinal (GI) cancer-associated cachexia by normalising metabolic dysregulation, American investigators report. Thirty GI cancer patients with cachexia undergoing chemotherapy were assigned to receive eight weekly sessions of either targeted acupuncture (TA) at points chosen to treat cachexia symptoms (systemic inflammation, anorexia and muscle wasting), or non-targeted acupuncture (NTA) at points non-relevant to cachexia. Levels of biochemical markers associated with poor nutrition and loss of body mass increased significantly NTA group at the end of the study, but remained stable in TA group. Both groups maintained weight, but the TA group trended toward weight gain during the last two weeks of the study.

Augmentation of Cancer Cachexia Components With Targeted Acupuncture in Patients With Gastrointestinal Cancers: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study. Integr Cancer Ther. 2019 Jan-Dec;18:1534735418823269