Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy and its association with quality of life among 2- to 11-year colorectal cancer survivors: results from the population-based PROFILES registry

J Clin Oncol. 2013 Jul 20;31(21):2699-707. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2013.49.1514. Epub 2013 Jun 17.


Purpose: To gain insight into the prevalence and severity of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy and its influence on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in a population-based sample of colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors 2 to 11 years after diagnosis.

Methods: All alive individuals diagnosed with CRC between 2000 and 2009 as registered by the Dutch population-based Eindhoven Cancer Registry were eligible for participation. Eighty-three percent (n = 1,643) of patients filled out the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ) C30 and the EORTC QLQ Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy 20.

Results: The five neuropathy subscale-related symptoms that bothered patients with CRC the most during the past week were erectile problems (42% of men), trouble hearing (11%), trouble opening jars or bottles (11%), tingling toes/feet (10%), and trouble walking stairs or standing up (9%). Additionally, patients who received oxaliplatin more often reported tingling (29% v 8%; P = .001), numbness (17% v 5%; P = .005), and aching or burning pain (13% v 6%; P = .03) in toes/feet compared with those not treated with chemotherapy. They also more often reported tingling toes/feet (29% v 14%; P = .0127) compared with those treated with chemotherapy without oxaliplatin. Those with many neuropathy symptoms (eg, upper 10%) reported statistically significant and clinically relevant worse HRQOL scores on all EORTC QLQ-C30 subscales (all P < .01).

Conclusion: Two to 11 years after diagnosis of CRC, neuropathy-related symptoms are still reported, especially sensory symptoms in the lower extremities among those treated with oxaliplatin. Because neuropathy symptoms have a negative influence on HRQOL, these should be screened for and alleviated. Future studies should focus on prevention and relief of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / complications*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Registries
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Survivors


  • Antineoplastic Agents