Program Official

Principal Investigator

Awardee Organization

Dana-Farber Cancer Inst
United States

Fiscal Year
Activity Code
Early Stage Investigator Grants (ESI)
Not Applicable
Project End Date

Acupuncture for Chemothrapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy Treatment (ACT) Trial

One of the most harmful side effects of chemotherapy is chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), a common, painful, and disabling side effect of many chemotherapy agents for which there is no effective treatment. Our pilot phase IIB three-arm trial showed that acupuncture treatment is associated with reduced CIPN pain and improved tactile threshold compared to placebo and usual care control. We aim to increase cancer patients' function and quality of life by identifying effective treatments to alleviate chemotherapy-related toxicities. The goal of the proposed project is to determine the efficacy of acupuncture in treating CIPN pain and improving function, as well as to improve sensory nerve recovery in cancer survivors suffering from moderate to severe CIPN pain. We will conduct a phase III, 250-patient, randomized, placebo (sham acupuncture)-controlled trial to: 1) determine the efficacy of an eight-week EA treatment on CIPN symptoms among cancer survivors with moderate to severe CIPN pain; 2) evaluate the effect of EA vs. SA on small sensory fiber function; and 3) evaluate whether baseline QST outcomes predict response to EA.


  • Zhi WI, Baser RE, Talukder D, Mei YZ, Harte SE, Bao T. Mechanistic and thermal characterization of acupuncture for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy as measured by quantitative sensory testing. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2023 Feb;197(3):535-545. Epub 2022 Dec 17. PMID: 36527520
  • Bao T, Zhi WI, Baser RE, Li QS, Weitzman M, Gillespie EF, Robson M, Mao JJ. Electro-acupuncture versus battle field auricular acupuncture in breast cancer survivors with chronic musculoskeletal pain: subgroup analysis of a randomized clinical trial. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2023 Nov;202(2):287-295. Epub 2023 Aug 24. PMID: 37612534
  • Zhi WI, Dreyfus N, Lessing A, Galantino M, Piulson L, Kot KL, Li S, Bao T. Patient Characteristics Associated With Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Severity in a Phase II Clinical Trial: A Retrospective Analysis. The oncologist. 2023 Jul 5;28(7):604-608. PMID: 36972359
  • Zhi WI, Baser RE, Kwon A, Chen C, Li SQ, Piulson L, Seluzicki C, Panageas KS, Harte SE, Mao JJ, Bao T. Characterization of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy using patient-reported outcomes and quantitative sensory testing. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2021 Apr;186(3):761-768. Epub 2021 Jan 28. PMID: 33507480
  • Saint K, Nemirovsky D, Lessing A, Chen Y, Yang M, Underwood WP, Galantino ML, Jones LW, Bao T. Impact of exercise on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in survivors with post-treatment primary breast cancer. Breast cancer research and treatment. 2024 May 7. Epub 2024 May 7. PMID: 38713289
  • Bao T, Baser R, Chen C, Weitzman M, Zhang YL, Seluzicki C, Li QS, Piulson L, Zhi WI. Health-Related Quality of Life in Cancer Survivors with Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy: A Randomized Clinical Trial. The oncologist. 2021 Nov;26(11):e2070-e2078. Epub 2021 Aug 26. PMID: 34390283
  • Zhi WI, Baser RE, Zhi LM, Talukder D, Li QS, Paul T, Patterson C, Piulson L, Seluzicki C, Galantino ML, Bao T. Yoga for cancer survivors with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: Health-related quality of life outcomes. Cancer medicine. 2021 Aug;10(16):5456-5465. Epub 2021 Jul 2. PMID: 34213086