Prechemotherapy Touch Sensation Deficits Predict Oxaliplatin-Induced Neuropathy in Patients with Colorectal Cancer

Oncology. 2016;90(3):127-35. doi: 10.1159/000443377. Epub 2016 Feb 17.


Objective: We examined the emergence of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), a dose-limiting toxicity of oxaliplatin, over the course of oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy for colorectal cancer (CRC). Predicting which patients will likely develop CIPN is an ongoing clinical challenge.

Methods: Oxaliplatin-naïve patients with CRC underwent quantitative sensory testing (QST) before beginning oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy and then rated CIPN-related symptoms via the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI) weekly for 26 weeks. Mixed modeling examined the value of QST for predicting higher CIPN (MDASI numbness/tingling) during treatment. Trajectory analysis identified a patient subgroup with consistently higher CIPN symptoms.

Results: Numbness/tingling was the most frequent, most severe symptom, with 51% of patients clustering into a high CIPN subgroup. Touch sensation deficits (Bumps Detection test) significantly predicted the development of more severe numbness/tingling [estimate (est) = 0.106, p = 0.0003]. The high CIPN subgroup reported increased pain (est = 0.472, p < 0.0001) and interference with walking (est = 0.840, p < 0.0001). In the high CIPN subgroup, patient-reported numbness/tingling worsened rapidly in weeks 0-5 (est = 0.57, p < 0.0001) and then more gradually in weeks 6-26 (est = 0.07, p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: Prechemotherapy screening with a simple, easily administered objective measure of touch sensation deficits (Bumps Detection test) and monitoring of patient-reported numbness/tingling during the first 2-3 chemotherapy cycles may support improved personalized care of CRC patients with oxaliplatin-induced CIPN.

Trial registration: NCT00777192.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / adverse effects*
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Paresthesia / chemically induced*
  • Paresthesia / diagnosis*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Touch*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Oxaliplatin

Associated data