Background: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is a common side effect afflicting cancer patients treated with oxalipatin based chemotherapy.
Aim: The study investigated the potential prophylactic effect of L-carnosine against acute oxaliplatin neurotoxicity in colorectal cancer patients with emphasis on the redox (Nrf-2, MDA), inflammatory (NF-κB, TNF-α), and apoptotic (caspase-3) parameters.
Methods: In this pilot study, 65 patients were recruited using a prospective randomized controlled study design and enrolled randomly into two arms; Arm A, 31 patients received FOLFOX-6 regimen (oxaliplatin, 5FU & leucovorin) and Arm B, 34 patients received FOLFOX-6 regimen and daily oral L-carnosine (500 mg) along the treatment period. Patients were followed up for three months, then both arms were analyzed for neuropathy incidence/grade and any additional toxicities according to National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (NCI-CTC version 4).
Results: The neuropathy grading evaluation of Arm B vs Arm A revealed that 17 patients (56.7%) vs 11 patients (35.5%) suffered grade 1, one patient (3.3%) vs 19 patients (61.3%) suffered grade 2, while 12 patients (40%) vs one patient (3.2%) were normal. In arm B, the addition of L-carnosine decreased significantly the levels/activity of NF-κB (27%) and TNF-α (36.6%); this anti-inflammatory effect entailed also its anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic effects, thus MDA level (51.8%) and caspase-3 activity (49%) were also reduced, whereas Nrf-2 was increased (38.7%) as compared to Arm A. In both arms a significant correlation was only evident between TNF-α and the neuropathy grading score (P < .03); the correlation analysis was significantly positive between NF-κB and both Nrf-2 and caspase 3.
Conclusion: L-Carnosine exerted a neuroprotective effect against oxaliplatin-induced peripheral neuropathy in colorectal cancer patients by targeting Nrf-2 and NF-κB pathways.
Keywords: Caspase-3; L-carnosine; MDA; NF-κB; Nrf-2; Oxaliplatin; TNF-α.
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