Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 27, Issue 10, pp 3849–3857 | Cite as

Exercise-based rehabilitation for cancer survivors with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy

  • J. Matt McCrary
  • David Goldstein
  • Carolina X. Sandler
  • Benjamin K. Barry
  • Michael Marthick
  • Hannah C. Timmins
  • Tiffany Li
  • Lisa Horvath
  • Peter Grimison
  • Susanna B. ParkEmail author
Original Article



Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) affects up to 40% of cancer survivors and is associated with functional deficits and an increased falls incidence. There are presently no strongly recommended treatment strategies for CIPN. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a multimodal exercise intervention on CIPN symptoms and related functional deficits, as well as neurophysiologic parameters.


All outcomes were assessed before and after an 8-week exercise intervention (3-weekly sessions) and preceding 8-week control period at baseline, pre-exercise and post-exercise. Outcome measures were objective and patient-reported CIPN, standing and dynamic balance, mobility, quality of life, and sensory and motor nerve excitability and conduction studies.


Twenty-nine cancer survivors (8 male, 21 female; mean age 61.6 ± 11.8 years) with CIPN symptoms affecting function completed all assessments. Objective and patient-reported CIPN, dynamic balance, standing balance in eyes open conditions, mobility and quality of life were improved from pre- to post-exercise (4.0 < F < 10.2; p < .05), with no changes over the control period (p > .21). No changes were observed in sensory or motor neurophysiologic parameters (p > .23).


This study provides encouraging evidence of the rehabilitative potential of multimodal exercise for persisting CIPN in a post-treatment cohort. Large randomised controlled trials are justified to confirm observed benefits and determine the mechanisms and clinical significance.


Survivorship Balance training Resistance training Aerobic training Neurophysiology 



This study was supported by a Cancer Institute NSW Program Grant (14/TPG/1-05) and a National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) Project Grant (no. 1080521). SBP is supported by a NHMRC Career Development Fellowship (no. 1148595).

Compliance with ethical standards

All participants gave their written consent prior to participation. This study was approved by the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District human ethics committee (no. 15-318), performed in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki, and prospectively registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (Trial ID: ACTRN12616000318482).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

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

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Matt McCrary
    • 1
  • David Goldstein
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carolina X. Sandler
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Benjamin K. Barry
    • 6
    • 7
  • Michael Marthick
    • 8
  • Hannah C. Timmins
    • 9
  • Tiffany Li
    • 9
  • Lisa Horvath
    • 8
    • 10
    • 11
  • Peter Grimison
    • 8
    • 10
    • 11
  • Susanna B. Park
    • 1
    • 9
    Email author
  1. 1.Prince of Wales Clinical SchoolUniversity of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia
  2. 2.Prince of Wales HospitalRandwickAustralia
  3. 3.Cancer Prevention Research Centre, School of Public Health, Faculty of MedicineThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, School of Exercise and Nutrition ScienceQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  5. 5.The Kirby InstituteUniversity of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia
  6. 6.School of Medical SciencesUniversity of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia
  7. 7.School of Clinical MedicineThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  8. 8.The Chris O’Brien LifehouseCamperdownAustralia
  9. 9.Brain and Mind CentreThe University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia
  10. 10.Royal Prince Alfred HospitalCamperdownAustralia
  11. 11.School of MedicineThe University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia

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