What is CIPN
Chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a common painful and treatment-limiting side effect of chemotherapy. (Staff et al. 2017)
CIPN and chemotherapy agents
Diverse chemotherapy agents affect the nervous system differently. Among those; platinum agents are known to produce sensory neuropathy, while taxanes have a history of producing a musculoskeletal pain syndrome which may be correlated to CIPN, and vinca-alkaloids are known to cause a mixed sensorimotor peripheral neuropathy. (Staff et al. 2017, Dougherty et al. 2007)
QST before chemotherapy
In another unfortunate twist, recent studies in colorectal cancer and squamous cell carcinoma (a type of skin cancer) have shown through Quantitative Sensory Testing (QST) that peripheral fibers may already be sub-clinically affected prior to the application of chemotherapy, in essence, linking the presence of the cancer itself to nerve damage. (de Cavalho Barbosa et al. 2014, Boyette-Davis et al. 2011, and Roldan et al. 2018, respectively)
The added value of QST in cancer patients
Given the fact that these patients are vulnerable to neuropathy, Roldan et al. has suggested that they should be monitored using QST prior to commencement and during their chemotherapy treatment to prevent or control the development of CIPN. (Roldan et al. 2018) A new publication by Ramnarine et al. (2018) gives weight to this point by finding that cold detection thresholds significantly increased during chemotherapy treatment in a mixed group of patients with various types of treatment agents. This points to the added value of QST during chemotherapy treatment and in chemotherapy clinical trials.
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