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.