Sensorimotor training and whole-body vibration training have the potential to reduce motor and sensory symptoms of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy-a randomized controlled pilot trial

Support Care Cancer. 2019 Jul;27(7):2471-2478. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4531-4. Epub 2018 Oct 31.


Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a prevalent and clinically relevant side effect of chemotherapy. The symptoms diminish patients' quality of life and represent a decisive limiting factor for medical therapy. To date, effective treatment options are lacking. Specific exercise interventions have proven promising to target relevant symptoms. We conducted a prospective, four-armed, randomized, controlled trial, to evaluate the effects of sensorimotor training (SMT) and whole-body vibration training (WBV) on patients with CIPN. Participants (N = 40) were randomized to either one of two intervention groups (SMT N = 10 or WBV N = 10) or oncological control group (N = 10) and matched by gender and age with a healthy control (N = 10). The intervention groups exercised twice a week for 6 weeks. Primary endpoint was the reduction of CIPN-related symptoms (improve peripheral deep sensitivity, Achilles tendon reflex (ASR) and patellar tendon reflex (PSR), light-touch perception, sense of position, and lower leg strength). Secondary endpoints were nerve conduction velocity and amplitude, balance control, quality of life, and CIPN-related pain. Patients exercising improved sensory and associated motor symptoms. Significant intergroup differences were found for the tendon reflexes (ASR P = .017 and PSR P = .020), peripheral deep sensitivity (P = .010), and pain (P = .043). Furthermore, tendencies were found regarding the subjective improvement of symptoms (P = .075) and two subscales of the EORTC-QLQ-C30 questionnaire: pain (P = .054) and dyspnea (P = .054). The results for the SMT group were superior regarding the tendon reflexes, and a tendency regarding the subjective report of symptoms, while WBV was superior regarding pain. SMT and WBV behold a large potential to reduce CIPN-related symptoms and can be considered feasible and safe for patients with CIPN (compliance 97.5%, no adverse events).Registration: DRKS00013027.

Keywords: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy; Exercise intervention; Neuropathy; Physical activity; Symptom reduction.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Induction Chemotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vibration