Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 1571–1581 | Cite as

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy after neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment of breast cancer: a prospective cohort study

  • Susana Pereira
  • Filipa Fontes
  • Teresa Sonin
  • Teresa Dias
  • Maria Fragoso
  • José M. Castro-Lopes
  • Nuno LunetEmail author
Original Article



The purposes of this study were to estimate the incidence of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) and to identify its main determinants and impact in patient-reported outcomes.


We performed a prospective cohort study including 296 patients with incident breast cancer submitted to chemotherapy, followed for 1 year. Patients with incident CIPN were reevaluated 6 months after this diagnosis. Relative risks (RR) with 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CI) were computed to quantify the relation between different clinical characteristics and the occurrence of CIPN, using Poisson regression. The variation of patient-reported outcomes between baseline and 1-year follow-up assessments was compared between patients with and without CIPN.


The cumulative incidence of CIPN in the first year after diagnosis was 28.7 % (95 % CI 23.8–34.1), and more than 80 % of the patients were still symptomatic after 6 months. Among the latter, there was a significant decrease in the median total neuropathy score, clinical version (7 versus 4) between the two periods. In multivariable analysis, the risk of CIPN was higher for treatment with docetaxel (cumulative doses ≤300 mg/m2, RR = 6.96, 95 % CI 2.53–19.10; >300 mg/m2, RR = 13.32; 95 % CI 4.11–43.14). Alcohol consumption and diabetes were not significantly associated with CIPN. There were no significant differences in the variation of patient-reported outcomes between the baseline and 1-year follow-up evaluations.


CIPN was frequent in this contemporary cohort of early-stage breast cancer patients and was strongly associated with docetaxel-based regimens. Symptoms persisted for at least 6 months in most patients, but severity was low and CIPN had no impact on patient-reported outcomes.


Breast neoplasm Peripheral nerve injuries Quality of life 



The work of FF was supported by the “Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia” (grant number SFRH/BD/92630/2013), and data management activities were supported by the Chair on Pain Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto and by the Grünenthal Foundation—Portugal.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susana Pereira
    • 1
    • 2
  • Filipa Fontes
    • 2
    • 3
  • Teresa Sonin
    • 1
  • Teresa Dias
    • 1
  • Maria Fragoso
    • 1
  • José M. Castro-Lopes
    • 4
    • 5
  • Nuno Lunet
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Portuguese Institute of Oncology of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.EPIUnit—Institute of Public Health, University of Porto (ISPUP)PortoPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Predictive Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  4. 4.Department of Experimental Biology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  5. 5.Institute for Molecular and Cell Biology (IBMC)University of PortoPortoPortugal

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