Background and purpose: This study aimed to identify the research evidence on acupoint stimulation (AS) for cancer-related fatigue (CRF) management.
Methods: Randomised controlled trials that utilised AS for CRF management were retrieved. The Cochrane Back Review Group Risk of Bias Tool was used for quality appraisal. RevMan 5.3 was used for meta-analysis.
Results: Fifteen studies were included. Both the overall (SMD = −0.95, p = 0.008) and sub-group (acupuncture: SMD = −1.25, p = 0.002; short-term AS: SMD = −0.95, p = 0.02; medium-term AS: SMD = −0.96, p = 0.003) analyses indicated that AS was more effective in alleviating CRF than standard treatment/care. A comparison between the true and sham AS interventions favoured the true AS for CRF management, although the difference did not reach statistical significance.
Conclusion: This study identified a promising role of AS in improving CRF. However, the study findings should be interpreted prudently due to the limited quality and sample sizes of some of the included studies.