Article Text

other Versions

Download PDFPDF
Auricular acupressure for cancer-related fatigue during lung cancer chemotherapy: a randomised trial
  1. Lu Lin1,2,
  2. Yan Zhang3,
  3. Hong Ying Qian1,
  4. Jia Li Xu1,
  5. Cong Yan Xie2,
  6. Bei Dong2 and
  7. Li Tian1,2
  1. 1Department of Respiration, First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China
  2. 2Department of Clinical Nursing, School of Nursing, Medical College of Soochow University, Suzhou, China
  3. 3Department of Respiration, Suzhou Municipal Hospital, Suzhou, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Li Tian, The First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou 215006, China; tianlisz{at}


Purpose To evaluate the effect of auricular acupressure (AA) on cancer-related fatigue (CRF), sleep disturbance and anxiety in lung cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Materials and methods Patients were recruited from the respiratory department of a general hospital and were randomised into three groups. A 9-week course of AA using Semen Vaccariae (SV) (Group A)/AA using magnetic beads (Group B)/routine care (Group C) was implemented. CRF scores were used as the primary outcome while the sleep and anxiety scores were the secondary outcomes. Analysis of variance and least significant difference t-test were used to determine the intergroup differences and paired-sample t-test was used for the intragroup comparison.

Results 100 lung cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy were included. Compared with Group C, AA could significantly alleviate CRF (F:24.63, p<0.01), especially for physical and affective fatigue and Group A was more effective for managing physical fatigue than Group B in per-protocol (PP) (−1.75 (−2.69 to –0.82), p<0.01)/Intention to Treat analysis (ITT) (−1.41 (−2.39 to –0.41), p=0.01) analysis. However, AA had no effect on cognitive fatigue. Compared with Group C, only Group A produced significant improvements in sleep quality in PP analysis (−1.17 (−2.23 to –0.10), p=0.03) while it yielded negative results in ITT analysis (−0.82 (−1.74 to 0.10), p=0.08). Compared with Group C, AA could significantly reduce anxiety in PP analysis (F:9.35, p<0.01) while there was no statistical difference between Group B and Group C (−0.95 (−2.81 to 0.90), p=0.31), Group A and Group B (−1.26 (−3.12 to 0.59), p=0.18) in ITT analysis.

Conclusion AA can alleviate CRF of lung cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, especially for physical and affective fatigue. AA using SV is more effective for physical fatigue while AA using magnetic beads works better for anxiety. However, AA cannot improve the sleep quality.

Trial registration number ISRCTNregistry (ISRCTN16408424).

  • auricular acupressure
  • cancer-related fatigue
  • lung cancer
  • sleep disturbance
  • anxiety

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • LL and YZ contributed equally.

  • Contributors LT and YZ designed the study; YZ, HYQ, JLX, CYX and BD conducted the research; LL analysed the data; LT, YZ and LL wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This study was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81801098) and the Suzhou Science and Technology Development Project (SYS 201526).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The Ethics Committee of the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University approved the study protocol (Ethical Approval No. 2017028).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information.