Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and its association with quality of life: a systematic review

Support Care Cancer. 2014 Aug;22(8):2261-9. doi: 10.1007/s00520-014-2255-7. Epub 2014 May 1.


Background: The objective of this study was to systematically review all available literature concerning chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) and quality of life (QOL) among cancer patients.

Methods: A computerized search of the literature was performed in December 2013. Articles were included if they investigated CIPN and QOL among cancer patients. Twenty-five articles were selected and were subjected to a 13-item quality checklist independently by two investigators.

Results: The methodological quality of the majority of the selected studies was adequate to high. The included studies differed tremendously with respect to study design (19 prospective studies, 5 cross-sectional, 1 both cross-sectional and prospective), patient population (lung, colorectal, ovarian, endometrial, cervical or breast cancer, lymphoma, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or a mixed population), number of included patients (ranging from 14 to 1643), and ways to assess CIPN (objectively, subjectively, or both). Of the 25 included studies, 11 assessed the association of CIPN on patients' QOL. While three of these studies did not find an association between CIPN and QOL, the others concluded that more CIPN was associated with a lower QOL.

Implications for cancer survivors: Although the included studies in this systematic review were very diverse, which impedes drawing firm conclusions on this topic, CIPN is likely to have a negative association with QOL. The variety of the studied patient populations and chemotherapeutic agents in the existing studies calls for further studies on this topic. These studies are preferably prospective in nature, include a large number of patients, and assess QOL and CIPN with validated questionnaires.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Induction Chemotherapy
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Quality of Life


  • Antineoplastic Agents