Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neurotoxicity: A multifaceted, still unsolved issue

J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2019 Oct;24 Suppl 2:S6-S12. doi: 10.1111/jns.12337.


Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neurotoxicity (CIPN) is a potentially dose-limiting side effect of several commonly used cytotoxic chemotherapy agents. The main pharmacological classes that may cause CIPN include classical anticancer drugs, as well as the recently introduced immune checkpoint inhibitors and antibody drug conjugates. The absence of a complete knowledge of CIPN pathophysiology is only one of the several unsolved issues related to CIPN. Among some of the most relevant aspects of CIPN deserving further attention include the real number of patients exposed to the risk of CIPN, the long-term impact on cancer survivors' quality of life due to incomplete recovery from CIPN, the economic burden related to acute and chronic CIPN, and the different perspective and education of the healthcare specialists in charge of managing patients with CIPN. Overall, CIPN remains a very challenging area of research as there are still several unresolved issues to be addressed in the future. In this special issue, the multifaceted profile of CIPN will be presented, with particular emphasis on bolstering the need to develop more optimized outcome measures than the existing ones to accurately evaluate the extent of CIPN, but also to ascertain the differences in the incidence, risk factors, clinical phenotype, and management of CIPN, according to the most commonly used neurotoxic chemotherapy classes. Perspectives for future research to pursue in order to cover the gaps in knowledge in the CIPN field will also be discussed.

Keywords: adult; chemotherapy; children; economic costs; neurotoxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / drug therapy*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Neuroprotective Agents