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Acupuncture For Pancreatic Cancer Pain

This study has been completed.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First Posted: August 29, 2005
Last Update Posted: September 8, 2006
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.
Information provided by:
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
August 25, 2005
August 29, 2005
September 8, 2006
September 2003
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  • To determine whether acupuncture reduces pain in pancreatic cancer patients more effectively than placebo
  • To determine the duration of acupuncture effects
  • To determine whether acupuncture reduces pain in pancreatic cancer patients more effectively than placebo.
  • To determine the duration of acupuncture effects.
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00136669 on ClinicalTrials.gov Archive Site
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Acupuncture For Pancreatic Cancer Pain
Acupuncture For Pancreatic Cancer Pain: A Randomized Phase III Study

Pain is a common problem in patients with pancreatic cancer. Some patients suffer from pain despite medication. We, the researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, are conducting a Phase III study to determine the effects of acupuncture on pain in patients with pancreatic cancer. The purpose of a Phase III study is to determine whether or not a treatment is helpful. This study will include about 60 patients.

Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into the skin to treat symptoms. In recent years, researchers have found evidence that acupuncture is useful in treating a variety of conditions, including headache, nausea, and pain.

The main aim of this pancreatic cancer pain trial is to determine the effects of a single, practitioner-given acupuncture treatment followed by semi-permanent acupuncture studs. Our primary endpoint is subjective; therefore, a placebo control will be applied with patients blinded to treatment allocation.

In clinical practice, acupuncturists individualize treatment: two patients with a similar conventional diagnosis may receive different point prescriptions depending on the acupuncture differential diagnosis. Randomized trials of acupuncture can either prescribe a fixed treatment formula in terms of the number of sessions and points to be used, or allow practitioners to exercise clinical judgment in individualizing care. There has been considerable debate in the methodological literature about the merits of each approach. The use of a fixed treatment schedule increases the reproducibility of the findings but is said, by practitioners, to generally reduce treatment effectiveness. In this trial, we have developed an approach that allows practitioners to individualize treatments in a manner that allows exact replication, by specifying particular point locations to be used depending on the sites where a patient experiences pain. Point locations for this and for all of our acupuncture studies are determined by our licensed, credentialled acupuncturists.

Following accrual of the initial 10-15 patients, we will review treatment compliance, blinding and accrual. Adjustments will be made to deal with compliance issues, to facilitate placebo blinding, or deal with recruitment problems for the remainder of the study.

Phase 3
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single
Primary Purpose: Treatment
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms
  • Pain
Procedure: Acupuncture
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*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
September 2005
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Inclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnosis of pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
  • First baseline current pain score of 3 or above on a 0 – 10 numerical rating scale.
  • In the opinion of the treating physician or a medically qualified investigator, the patient’s pain syndrome is the result of underlying cancer.
  • Patient OR caregiver must be willing and able to apply pressure to each point using small circular movements with the fingers twice per day.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Primary cause of pain is procedural (e.g. postoperative pain).
  • Acupuncture treatment in the past six weeks. Patients should not receive acupuncture during the one week period of the study.
  • Neutropenia defined as absolute neutrophil count (ANC) <1000/microliter.
  • Cardiac conditions constituting high or moderate risk of endocarditis as defined by the American Heart Association criteria.
  • Patient contraindicated for phlebotomy, as phlebotomy needles are much larger than acupuncture needles.
Sexes Eligible for Study: All
Child, Adult, Senior
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
United States
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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
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Principal Investigator: Barrie R. Cassileth, Ph.D. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
September 2006

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP