Patient-reported and Clinician-Reported Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Patients With Early Breast Cancer: Current Clinical Practice

Cancer. 2019 Sep 1;125(17):2945-2954. doi: 10.1002/cncr.32175. Epub 2019 May 15.


Background: In the current study, the authors investigated the incidence of moderate to severe chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) for chemotherapy regimens commonly used in current clinical practice for the treatment of patients with early breast cancer. Patient-reported and clinician-assessed CIPN severity scores were compared, and risk factors for CIPN severity were identified.

Methods: Patients completed a Patient-Reported Symptom Monitoring form and oncologists completed a Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events form. CIPN reports were collected prospectively during regularly scheduled infusion visits throughout the duration of chemotherapy.

Results: The sample included 184 women with a mean age of 55 years; approximately 73% were white. The 4 chemotherapy regimens used were doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide plus paclitaxel (60 patients); docetaxel and cyclophosphamide (50 patients); docetaxel, carboplatin, and anti-human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) (24 patients); and doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide plus paclitaxel and carboplatin (18 patients). All patients treated with doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide plus paclitaxel and doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide plus paclitaxel and carboplatin received paclitaxel; all patients treated with docetaxel and cyclophosphamide and docetaxel, carboplatin, and anti-HER2 received docetaxel. The chemotherapy dose was reduced in 52 patients (28%); in 15 patients (29%), this reduction was due to CIPN. Chemotherapy was discontinued in 26 patients (14%), 8 because of CIPN. Agreement between patient-reported and clinician-assessed CIPN severity scores was minimal (weighted Cohen kappa, P = .34). Patient-reported moderate to severe CIPN was higher for paclitaxel (50%) compared with docetaxel (17.7%) (P < .001). Pretreatment arthritis and/or rheumatism (relative risk [RR], 1.58; 95% CI, 1.06-2.35 [P = .023]) and regimens containing paclitaxel (RR, 2.88; 95% CI, 1.72-4.83 [P < .0001]) were associated with higher CIPN severity. Being married (RR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.37-0.887 [P = .01]) was found to be associated with lower CIPN severity.

Conclusions: The discrepancy between patient-reported and clinician-assessed CIPN underscores the need for both patient and clinician perspectives regarding this common, dose-limiting, and potentially disabling side effect of chemotherapy.

Keywords: breast; cancer; chemotherapy; neuropathy; peripheral.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Docetaxel / administration & dosage
  • Docetaxel / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Oncologists
  • Paclitaxel / administration & dosage
  • Paclitaxel / adverse effects
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Self Report
  • Young Adult


  • Docetaxel
  • Paclitaxel