Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 625–632 | Cite as

The relationship between numbness, tingling, and shooting/burning pain in patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) as measured by the EORTC QLQ-CIPN20 instrument, N06CA

  • Sherry L. Wolf
  • Debra L. Barton
  • Rui Qin
  • Edward J. Wos
  • Jeff A. Sloan
  • Heshan Liu
  • Neil K. Aaronson
  • Daniel V. Satele
  • Bassam I. Mattar
  • Nathan B. Green
  • Charles L. LoprinziEmail author
Original Article



Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is characterized by numbness, tingling, and shooting/burning pain. This analysis was performed to describe the relationship between numbness, tingling, and shooting/burning pain in patients with CIPN, as reported using the EORTC QLQ-CIPN20 (CIPN20).


Baseline CIPN20 data were provided for all patients on a prospective trial designed to treat patients with bothersome CIPN. Baseline frequencies for the items on the CIPN20 are primarily described by descriptive statistics and histograms, with correlational analyses between individual items.


A majority of the 199 patients accrued to this study reported “quite a bit” to “very much” numbness (57%) or tingling (63%) in the hands compared to “a little” or “not at all” (numbness (43%), tingling (38%)). Fewer patients reported “quite a bit” to “very much” shooting/burning pain in the hands (18%). Numbness and tingling in the hands were highly correlated (r = 0.69), while neither were highly correlated with shooting/burning pain. Similar results were observed in the feet. More severe ratings for tingling and shooting/burning pain were ascribed to the lower extremities, as opposed to the upper extremities.


In patients with CIPN, severe sensory neuropathy symptoms (numbness, tingling) commonly exist without severe neuropathic pain symptoms (shooting/burning pain), while the reverse is not common. Symptoms in the feet should be evaluated distinctly from those in the hands as the experience of symptoms is not identical, for individual patients, in upper versus lower extremities.


Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy EORTC QLQ CIPN20 Cytotoxic agents Numbness Tingling Shooting/burning pain 



This study was conducted as a collaborative trial of the North Central Cancer Treatment Group and Mayo Clinic and was supported in part by Public Health Service grants CA-25224, CA-37404, CA-63848, CA-35195, CA-37417, CA-35448, CA-35267, CA-63849, CA-35113, CA-35103, CA-35415, CA-35431, CA-45377, and CA-67575. This work was also supported by the NIH Mentorship Grant CA-124477. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of the National Cancer Institute or the National Institute of Health.

Conflict of interest disclosure

Neil K. Aaronson, who developed the EORCT QLQ-CIPN20 instrument, works with EORTC. The other authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sherry L. Wolf
    • 1
  • Debra L. Barton
    • 1
  • Rui Qin
    • 1
  • Edward J. Wos
    • 2
  • Jeff A. Sloan
    • 1
  • Heshan Liu
    • 1
  • Neil K. Aaronson
    • 3
  • Daniel V. Satele
    • 1
  • Bassam I. Mattar
    • 4
  • Nathan B. Green
    • 5
  • Charles L. Loprinzi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Mayo Clinic RochesterRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Medcenter One Health SystemBismarckUSA
  3. 3.Netherlands Cancer InstituteAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Wichita Community Clinical Oncology ProgramWichitaUSA
  5. 5.Missouri Valley Cancer ConsortiumOmahaUSA

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