The peripheral nervous system can be vulnerable to the toxic action of several drugs since it is not protected as effectively as the central nervous system from noxious exogenous agents. Drug-induced neurotoxicity can affect the nerve fibers or the neuronal bodies (generally the dorsal root ganglia of the primary sensory neurons). Among the neurotoxic drugs antineoplastic agents represent a major clinical problem, given their widespread use and the potential severity of their toxicity. In fact, the peripheral neurotoxicity of antineoplastic agents frequently represents one of their dose-limiting side effects. Moreover, even when antineoplastic agents' peripheral neurotoxicity is not dose-limiting, its onset may severely affect the quality of life of cancer patients and cause chronic discomfort. Among the anticancer chemotherapy drugs, platinum derivates, antitubulins, thalidomide and bortezomib can induce the most severe effects on the peripheral nervous system of the treated patients. Therefore, we will review the features of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neurotoxicity (CIPN) resulting from the administration of these drugs with a focus on new classes of promising antineoplastic agents, such as epothilones and proteasome inhibitors.
Copyright Â© 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.