Taxane induced neuropathy in patients affected by breast cancer: Literature review

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2015 Oct;96(1):34-45. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2015.04.011. Epub 2015 May 11.


Taxane induced neuropathy (TIN) is the most limiting side effect of taxane based chemotherapy, relative to the majority of breast cancer patients undergoing therapy with both docetaxel and paclitaxel. The symptoms begin symmetrically from the toes, because the tips of the longest nerves are affected for first. The patients report sensory symptoms such as paresthesia, dysesthesia, numbness, electric shock-like sensation, motor impairment and neuropathic pain. There is a great inter-individual variability among breast cancer women treated with taxanes, in fact 20-30% of them don't develop neurotoxicity. Actually, there is no standard therapy for TIN, although many medications, antioxidants and natural substances have been tested in vitro and in vivo. We will summarize all most recent literature data on TIN prevention and treatment, in order to reach an improvement in TIN management. Further studies are needed to evaluate new therapies that restore neuronal function and improve life quality of patients.

Keywords: Anticonvulsants; Antidepressants; Antioxidants; Breast cancer; Neurotoxicity; Pharmacogenomics; Taxane; Vitamins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / adverse effects*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Economics, Pharmaceutical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / etiology*
  • Taxoids / adverse effects*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Antioxidants
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Taxoids