Impact of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy on treatment delivery in nonmetastatic breast cancer

J Oncol Pract. 2013 Sep;9(5):e234-40. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2012.000863. Epub 2013 Apr 30.


Purpose: To determine the incidence of dose-limiting (DL) chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) events in clinical practice.

Patients and methods: This retrospective cohort study included 488 women who received docetaxel or paclitaxel. The primary outcome was a DL event (dose delay, dose reduction, or treatment discontinuation) attributed to CIPN (DL CIPN). The paired t test was used to test the difference in received cumulative dose and planned cumulative dose by dose reduction and treatment discontinuation status.

Results: A total of 150 unique DL events occurred in 120 women (24.6%). More than one third (37.3%; n=56) of the events were attributed to CIPN. The 56 DL CIPN events occurred in 50 women (10.2%). DL CIPN incidence differed significantly by agent (docetaxel, 2.4%; n=five of 209; paclitaxel, 16.1%; n=45 of 279; P<.001). DL CIPN occurred in 24.5% and 14.4% of women who received paclitaxel 80 mg/m2 weekly for 12 cycles and 175 mg/m2 biweekly for four cycles, respectively (adjusted odds ratio, 2.11; 95% CI, 0.97 to 4.60; P=.06). The cumulative dose actually received was significantly lower than the planned cumulative dose among women who had a dose reduction or treatment termination attributed to CIPN (9.4% less; P<.001 and 28.4% less; P<.001, respectively).

Conclusion: Oncologists limited the dosing of chemotherapy because of CIPN in a significant proportion of paclitaxel recipients, most frequently in those who received a weekly regimen. Patients who had their dose reduced or discontinued received significantly less cumulative chemotherapy than planned. The implications of these DL CIPN events on treatment outcomes must be investigated.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Docetaxel
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects*
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Taxoids / administration & dosage
  • Taxoids / adverse effects*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Taxoids
  • Docetaxel
  • Paclitaxel