We updated the design of this site on December 18, 2017. Learn more.
ClinicalTrials.gov Menu

Acupuncture and Acupressure in Treating Patients With Moderate or Severe Pain Related to Stage III or Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00040833
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : January 27, 2003
Last Update Posted : June 5, 2013
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Information provided by:
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Brief Summary:

RATIONALE: Acupuncture and acupressure may help relieve moderate or severe pain associated with stage III or stage IV pancreatic cancer.

PURPOSE: Phase II trial to study the effectiveness of acupuncture and accupressure in treating patients who have moderate or severe pain associated with stage III or stage IV pancreatic cancer.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Pain Pancreatic Cancer Procedure: complementary or alternative medicine procedure Procedure: pain therapy Phase 2

Detailed Description:


  • Assess the effects of acupuncture and acupressure on pain, sedation, and use of opiate medication in patients with moderate or severe pain related to stage III or IV pancreatic cancer.
  • Determine whether controlled trials of this therapy are warranted in this patient population.
  • Provide data to aid design of further warranted studies of this therapy in this patient population.

OUTLINE: Patients receive acupuncture treatment comprising 20 minutes of needle insertion into the arms and abdomen to the depth used in traditional Chinese medicine on approximately days 4, 7, 11, and 14. After each acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist applies/reapplies acupressure devices by inserting 2-6 smaller needles (studs) into the abdomen (which are held in place with surgical tape) and taping tiny metal balls to 3 points in each ear. Patients or caregivers are instructed to administer acupressure by pressing on the ear points (metal balls) for 1-2 minutes per point and moving the semi-permanent abdominal needles in small circular movements with the fingers, at a rate of 2-3 cycles per second, for 1-2 minutes per point, upon waking in the morning and in the early afternoon. Patients or caregivers are also instructed to stimulate a "rescue point" (the Shenmen auricular point) if patients experience pain exacerbations at other times during the day. Patients who respond well to acupuncture are offered further treatment.

Pain is assessed using the numerical rating scale on approximately days 1-4, 7, 11, and 14-17. Sedation is assessed using the Profile of Mood States (POMS) on approximately days 3 and 17. Analgesic medication use is assessed on approximately days 1-3 and 15-17.

PROJECTED ACCRUAL: A total of 10-29 patients will be accrued for this study within approximately 2 years.

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Official Title: Acupuncture for the Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer Pain: A Single Arm Phase II Study
Study Start Date : February 2002
Primary Completion Date : June 2003
Study Completion Date : June 2003

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

U.S. FDA Resources

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No


  • Diagnosis of stage III or IV primary pancreatic cancer
  • At least 4 days since prior change in type of pain medication
  • No change in dose of long-acting analgesics
  • Actual dose of as needed (PRN) pain medication may vary
  • One of the following pain scores:

    • Pain score of at least 4 on a scale of 0 to 10
    • A score of at least 54 out of 88 on the combined relevant Profile of Mood States (POMS) subscales (Vigor, Fatigue, and Confusion) with no evidence that sedation results from cause other than opiate medication and patient reported using PRN opiates on at least 4 of the past 7 days (patients who are eligible for this study on the basis of POMS scores must be taking PRN medication)



  • Over 18

Performance status:

  • Not specified

Life expectancy:

  • At least 4 weeks


  • Absolute neutrophil count at least 500/mm^3
  • Platelet count at least 20,000/mm^3


  • INR no greater than 2.5


  • Not specified


  • No heart valve dysfunction


  • No uncontrolled infection


Biologic therapy:

  • Not specified


  • At least 4 weeks since prior gemcitabine unless there is documented disease progression
  • Concurrent chemotherapy (except gemcitabine) allowed

Endocrine therapy:

  • Not specified


  • At least 3 weeks since prior radiotherapy
  • No concurrent radiotherapy


  • At least 1 week since prior epidural analgesia, celiac plexus block, or thoracoscopic or open splanchnicectomy
  • No concurrent epidural analgesia, celiac plexus block, or thoracoscopic or open splanchnicectomy


  • See Disease Characteristics
  • At least 3 months since prior acupuncture
  • Concurrent experimental treatments allowed

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier (NCT number): NCT00040833

United States, New York
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York, United States, 10021
Sponsors and Collaborators
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Study Chair: Barrie R. Cassileth, PhD Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00040833     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 02-008
CDR0000069411 ( Registry Identifier: PDQ (Physician Data Query) )
First Posted: January 27, 2003    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: June 5, 2013
Last Verified: June 2013

Keywords provided by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center:
stage III pancreatic cancer
recurrent pancreatic cancer
stage IV pancreatic cancer

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Pancreatic Neoplasms
Digestive System Neoplasms
Neoplasms by Site
Endocrine Gland Neoplasms
Digestive System Diseases
Pancreatic Diseases
Endocrine System Diseases