Chemotherapy-Associated Peripheral Neuropathy in Patients with Early-Stage Breast Cancer: A Systematic Review

Donna R. Rivera, Patricia A. Ganz, Meghan S. Weyrich, Hanna Bandos, Joy Melnikow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, and survival rates are increasing. Chemotherapy-associated peripheral neuropathy (PN) is clinically important because of effects on quality of life (QOL) and potential effects on dose limitations. This adverse drug reaction is associated with certain classes of chemotherapy and commonly presents as peripheral sensory neuropathy whose natural course is largely unknown. The literature was reviewed to determine the frequency and characteristics of PN associated with adjuvant chemotherapy in early-stage breast cancer (ESBC) to explore the potential impact on long-term (one or more years after diagnosis) health outcomes and QOL. MEDLINE, PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library were searched for relevant English-language randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and case-control and cohort studies published between January 1990 and July 1996. Included studies were limited to current adjuvant regimens (eg, anthracyclines, taxanes, cyclophosphamide, platinum compounds). Two investigators independently reviewed abstracts, full-text articles, and extracted data from fair-and good-quality studies. Discrepancies in quality assessment and data extraction were resolved by consensus. We identified 364 articles; 60 were eligible for full-text review. Only five reports of four studies provided data beyond one year post-treatment initiation. Studies used different measures to assess PN. Neuropathic symptoms persisted in 11.0% to more than 80% of participants at one to three years following treatment. There is a paucity of data describing persistent PN in ESBC patients. Consistent use of validated measures and well-conducted randomized clinical trials or observational studies are needed to evaluate the incidence, persistence, and QOL associated with the long-term effects of PN.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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