Case report

Acupuncture might Increase Efficacy of Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Ultralow Rectal Cancer: A Case Report and Review of Related Literature

Xin Jiang1#, Li-na Wang2# Qiao-li Zhang2, Ye-hong Tian2, Ming Yang1, Yu-xiang Wan2, Xue-wei Qi2, Li Yao3, Jin-chang Huang2

1School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China;

2The Third Affiliated Hospital, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China;

3Fourth Department of General Surgery, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, China

Received March 28, 2019; Accepted April 10, 2019


Background: We report a case of a patient with ultralow rectal cancer who had a successful anus-preserving operation with fire needling to increase the efficacy of neoadjuvant chemotherapy and an overview of the related literature.

Case presentation: A 38-year-old male with a diagnosis of rectal cancer (cT4N0-2M0 Stage III), the lower edge of the tumor was 2 cm away from the anal margin. He had a strong desire for anal preservation and received six cycles of neoadjuvant chemotherapy by FOLFOX6 regimen at the China-Japan Friendship Hospital. The tumor shrinkage was not significant, and then fire-needling acupuncture was added to the original plan at baliao acupoints during the period of chemotherapy. After another six cycles of acupuncture, the tumor disappeared in the imaging examination. He underwent general anesthesia for laparoscopic rectal cancer (ISR) radical surgery.

Results: The specimen showed no tumor, and no metastatic carcinoma was found in the peri-intestinal lymph nodes.

Conclusion: Acupuncture combined with chemotherapy may increase the anti-tumor effect, which could be of great significance for ultra-low rectal cancer patients if evidence can be replicated in additional study. Further case series research is needed.


Fire needling acupuncture; ultralow rectal cancer; neoadjuvant chemotherapy; case report

Copyright 2019 by Global Clinical and Translational Research

How to cite this article:

Jiang X, Wang L, Zhang Q, Tian Y, Yang M, Wan Y, Qi X, Yao L, Huang J. Acupuncture might increase efficacy of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for ultralow rectal cancer: a case report and review of related literature. Glob Clin Transl Res. 2019; 1 (2):74-77. DOI:10.36316/gcatr.01.0011


1.      Mao J, Wu P, Yang G, Wu P. Clinical efficacy of anus-preserving operation for ultra low rectal cancer. Chin J Dig Surg. 2015; 14(6):461-5.

2.      Aggarwal B, Prasad S, Sung B, Krishnan S, Guha S. Prevention and Treatment of Colorectal Cancer by Natural Agents From Mother Nature. Curr Colorectal Cancer Rep. 2013;9(1):37-56.

3.      Corman ML. Classic articles in colonic and rectal surgery. A method of performing abdominoperineal excision for carcinoma of the rectum and of the terminal portion of the pelvic colon: by W. Ernest Miles, 1869-1947. Dis Colon Rectum. 1980;23(3):202-5.

4.      Marks J, Nassif G, Schoonyoung H, DeNittis A, Zeger E, Mohiuddin M, et al. Sphincter-sparing surgery for adenocarcinoma of the distal 3 cm of the true rectum: results after neoadjuvant therapy and minimally invasive radical surgery or local excision. Surg Endosc. 2013;27(12):4469-77.

5.      Zuo X, Meng X. Recent advances in the safe distance of the distal excisionmargin for rectal cancer. International Journal of Surgery. 2011;38(8):548-52.

6.      Contin P, Kulu Y, Bruckner T, Sturm M, Welsch T, Muller-Stich BP, et al. Comparative analysis of late functional outcome following preoperative radiation therapy or chemoradiotherapy and surgery or surgery alone in rectal cancer. Int J Colorectal Dis. 2014;29(2):165-75.

7.      Lange MM, den Dulk M, Bossema ER, Maas CP, Peeters KC, Rutten HJ, et al. Risk factors for faecal incontinence after rectal cancer treatment. Br J Surg. 2007;94(10):1278-84.

8.      Bujko K, Rutkowski A, Chang GJ, Michalski W, Chmielik E, Kusnierz J. Is the 1-cm rule of distal bowel resection margin in rectal cancer based on clinical evidence? A systematic review. Ann Surg Oncol. 2012;19(3):801-8.

9.      Frei E, 3rd. Clinical cancer research: an embattled species. Cancer. 1982;50(10):1979-92.

10.   Liu Z, Ballinger JR, Rauth AM, Bendayan R, Wu XY. Delivery of an anticancer drug and a chemosensitizer to murine breast sarcoma by intratumoral injection of sulfopropyl dextran microspheres. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2003; 55 (8):1063-73.

11.   Wang SG, Mu N, Sun HY. Effect of Interventional Therapy on the Expression of Survivin mRNA in Cervical Cancer. Anti-cancer Res. 2017;37(8):4707-10.

12.   Masood F. Polymeric nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery system for cancer therapy. Materials Science and Engineering: C. 2016;60(1):569-78.

13.   Tian Y, Jiang X, Zhao W, Pan L, Li B, Wang Z, et al. Acupuncture enhances anticancer effects of cyclophosphamide on 4T1 tumors via suppression of angiogenesis in BALB/c mice. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences. 2017; 4(2): 216-21.