Esophageal Cancer Clinical Trial
Feasibility of Auricular Acupressure for Appetite and Weight in Patients With Stage II-IV Gastric, Esophageal, and Pancreatic Cancer
This clinical trial evaluates the feasibility and acceptability of acupressure to the ear (auricular) to address appetite and weight in patients with stage II-IV gastric, esophageal, or pancreatic cancer. Cancer anorexia, the abnormal loss of appetite, directly leads to cancer-associated weight loss (cachexia) through malnourishment, reduced caloric intake, treatment side-effects, and other modifiable risk factors. Cachexia prolongs length of hospital stay for patients, negatively impacts treatment tolerance and adherence, and reduces overall patient quality of life. Auricular acupressure is a form of micro-acupuncture that exerts its effect by stimulating the central nervous system using adhesive taped pellets applied to specific locations on the external ear. The use of these pellets to deliver auricular acupressure has been shown to improve pain, fatigue, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, depression, and quality of life in both cancer and non-cancer settings. Auricular acupressure is a safe, inexpensive, and non-invasive approach to addressing cancer-related symptoms and treatment side-effects and may be effective at improving appetite and weight loss in stage II-IV gastric, esophageal, and pancreatic cancer patients.
OUTLINE: Patients are randomized to 1 of 2 arms.
ARM I: Patients undergo auricular acupressure in addition to their usual care on study. Patients also undergo collection of blood samples on study.
ARM II: Patients receive usual care on study. Patients also undergo collection of blood samples on study.
After completion of study treatment, patients in Arm II are followed up at 8 weeks after active treatment ends.
18-65 years of age
Stage II-IV gastric, esophageal, or pancreatic cancer
Appetite score on visual analog scale =< 70/100
Functional Assessment for Anorexia/Cachexia Treatment Subscale (FACT-ACS) score < 37
At least 60 days of planned systemic treatment, whether already initiated or scheduled to be initiated
Access to phone and electronic device for study contacts and questionnaires
Willing and able to attend 4 in-person auricular acupressure treatments at the Fred Hutch South Lake Union Clinic
Willing and able to perform 4 at-home self-applied treatments of auricular acupressure
Participants must not have received acupressure or acupuncture for low appetite within last 30 days
Participants must not be actively using corticosteroids or immunomodulators for appetite stimulation at baseline
Participants must be able to intake food orally and not require sole or supplemental intravenous nutrition at baseline
Participants must not have a history of physiological eating disorders (e.g., anorexia nervosa) in the last 3 years
Participants must not have a current known or diagnosed immunodeficiency
Participants must have an intact auricular pinna
Able to understand and willing to sign written informed consent in English
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