Eligible studies were prospective randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of moxibustion used as the sole treatment or as an adjunct to other treatments, provided the control group received the same concomitant treatments as the moxibustion group. Patients with any type of cancer were eligible for inclusion. Studies were required to measure clinically relevant outcomes (survival, response rate, side effects of chemotherapy or quality of life). Studies were excluded if they used treatments of unproven efficacy in the control group, if they compared different forms of moxibustion and if they assessed immunological or biological outcomes.
Participants in the included studies had either nasopharyngeal carcinoma, gastric cancer or various cancer conditions. Moxibustion was applied indirectly in all studies. Moxibustion was administered two to three times daily, once daily or three times weekly as an adjunct to treatment in the control group, which included either combined chemotherapy plus radiotherapy, chemotherapy plus herbal medicine, chemotherapy alone or morphine. None of the studies reported the rationale for selection of acupuncture points, which included CV8 or a combination of either GV14, BL17, ST36 or GV14, CV4, ST36, LI4 and ashi point. Duration of treatment ranged from 20 to 30 days, where reported. All studies were undertaken in China.
Two reviewers independently undertook the selection of studies. It was not reported how disagreements were resolved.