Eligible studies were randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of patients with breast cancer who had needle acupuncture with or without electrical stimulation for the treatment of hot flashes. Trials were included if they used needle acupuncture solely or as an adjunct to other treatments and if the control group and acupuncture group received the same concomitant therapy. Trials that used other forms of acupuncture (such as laser acupuncture or moxibustion), that compared different forms of acupuncture and in which there were no clinical data were excluded from the review.
Comparator interventions included: sham acupuncture, hormone therapy, venlafaxine and applied relaxation. Acupuncture points (fixed and bilateral), number of sessions and number of people who administered acupuncture varied between studies.
In all studies, frequency of hot flashes was recorded in a diary/logbook. Adverse events were recorded in some studies.
The authors stated neither how the studies were selected for inclusion in the review nor how many reviewers performed the selection.