Rechallenge with oxaliplatin and peripheral neuropathy in colorectal cancer patients

J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2018 Sep;144(9):1793-1801. doi: 10.1007/s00432-018-2691-8. Epub 2018 Jun 28.


Background: Oxaliplatin (OXA) is a cornerstone in the treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC). Retreatment with OXA is frequently considered as salvage treatment. OXA-induced neuropathy (OIN) is the most frequent and feared long-term side effect.

Patients and methods: CRC patients receiving at least twice OXA-based chemotherapy lines at our institution between June 2000 and July 2016 were reviewed. The aim of this study was to investigate whether retreatment with OXA increases the risk of developing new or worsening previous neuropathy. OIN was assessed by National Cancer Institute-Common Toxicity Criteria for Adverse Events (NCI), Total Neuropathy Score© (TNS) and nerve-conduction studies.

Results: 106 patients were included in the analysis. Median age at OXA-based retreatment was 61.5 (20-83) years. After the first OXA-based chemotherapy treatment, 63.4% of patients developed OIN, 30.7 and 8.9% grades 2 and 3, respectively, after a median of 11 (1-17) cycles. After 30 (11-90) months of median to retreatment with a median of 8 (1-14) OXA cycles, 39.6, 22.6, and 0% of patients developed grade 1, 2, and 3 OIN, respectively. Worsening of the previous OIN was observed in one-third (31.1%) of all patients. OXA-cumulative dose was independently associated with greater risk of worsening OIN (p < 0.001). Non-significant trend towards higher TNSc© scores after retreatment was observed [5 (0-11) vs 6 (3-13), p = 0.083].

Conclusion: Retreatment with OXA in CRC patients is a feasible option even in patients who previously developed moderate or severe OIN. One-third of patients' OIN was worsened by retreatment. Neurological monitoring should be considered.

Keywords: FOLFOX; Neurotoxicity; Oxaliplatin; Oxaliplatin-induced neuropathy; Retreatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / adverse effects*
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Oxaliplatin