Background: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neurotoxicity (CIPN) is a major adverse effect of cancer treatment. However, its impact remains poorly understood. This study aimed to investigate the impact associated with CIPN on the lives of cancer survivors.
Patients and methods: A volunteer sample of 986 individuals who had received neurotoxic chemotherapy completed an anonymous, cross-sectional survey. Outcomes assessed included CIPN symptoms, pain, neuropathic pain, quality of life (QoL), physical activity, and comorbid health conditions via the Self-Administered Comorbidity Questionnaire.
Results: Respondents had a mean age of 58 years (SD, 10.7), and 83.2% were female. Most were treated for breast (58.9%) or colorectal cancer (13.5%); had received docetaxel (32.7%), paclitaxel (31.6%), or oxaliplatin (12.5%); and had completed treatment 3.6 ± 3.5 years previously. We found that 76.5% of respondents reported current CIPN. Respondents reporting severe CIPN had poorer QoL, more comorbidities, and higher body mass index, and more often received multiple neurotoxic chemotherapies than those with mild CIPN. Respondents who completed the survey ≤1 year after completing chemotherapy did not differ in reported CIPN or pain compared with respondents who completed chemotherapy ≥6 years earlier. However, respondents who completed chemotherapy ≥6 years earlier reported better QoL. Multivariable linear regression analyses revealed predictors of CIPN severity as follows: F(7, 874) = 64.67; P<.001; R2 = 0.34, including pain (β = -0.36; P<.001), burning pain (β = 0.25; P<.001), sex (male sex associated with greater CIPN: β = 0.14; P<.001), years since completing chemotherapy (shorter time associated with greater CIPN; β = -0.10; P<.001), age (β = 0.80; P=.006), number of comorbid conditions (β = 0.07; P=.02), and body mass index (β = 0.07; P=.02).
Conclusions: Respondents with a high CIPN symptom burden experienced poorer general health and QoL. Improvements in CIPN may be more likely soon after treatment. However, improvements in QoL may occur over time in those with chronic symptoms. CIPN seems to have lasting impacts on cancer survivors, and understanding risk factors is important to enable the design of further preventive and therapeutic management strategies.