Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 943–951 | Cite as

Pilot evaluation of Scrambler therapy for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy

  • Deirdre R. Pachman
  • Breanna L. Weisbrod
  • Drew K. Seisler
  • Debra L. Barton
  • Kelliann C. Fee-Schroeder
  • Thomas J. Smith
  • Daniel H. Lachance
  • Heshan Liu
  • Randy A. Shelerud
  • Andrea L. Cheville
  • Charles L. Loprinzi
Original Article



Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), a common side effect of chemotherapy, needs better effective treatments. Preliminary data support the use of Scrambler therapy, a device which treats pain via noninvasive cutaneous electrostimulation, for the treatment of CIPN. The current manuscript reports data from a pilot trial, performed to investigate the effect of Scrambler therapy for the treatment of established CIPN.


Eligible patients had CIPN symptoms of ≥1 month duration with tingling and/or pain ≥4/10 during the prior week. Patients were treated with Scrambler therapy to the affected area(s) for up to ten daily 30-min sessions. Symptoms were monitored using a neuropathy questionnaire consisting of numerical analog scales ranging from 0 to 10, daily before therapy as well as weekly for 10 weeks after therapy. Descriptive summary statistics formed the basis of data analysis.


Thirty-seven patients were enrolled. Twenty-five patients were treated primarily on their lower extremities while 12 were treated primarily on their upper extremities. There was a 53 % reduction in pain score from baseline to day 10; a 44 % reduction in tingling; and a 37 % reduction in numbness. Benefit appeared to last throughout 10 weeks of follow-up. There were no substantial adverse events.


Preliminary data support that Scrambler therapy may be effective for the treatment of CIPN: a prospective placebo-controlled clinical trial should be performed.


Scrambler therapy Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy Electroanalgesia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deirdre R. Pachman
    • 1
  • Breanna L. Weisbrod
    • 1
  • Drew K. Seisler
    • 2
  • Debra L. Barton
    • 3
  • Kelliann C. Fee-Schroeder
    • 1
  • Thomas J. Smith
    • 4
  • Daniel H. Lachance
    • 5
  • Heshan Liu
    • 2
  • Randy A. Shelerud
    • 6
  • Andrea L. Cheville
    • 6
  • Charles L. Loprinzi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OncologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Cancer Center StatisticsMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  3. 3.School of NursingUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Palliative Care Program of Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Harry J. Duffey Palliative Care Program of Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer CenterBaltimoreUSA
  5. 5.Department of NeurologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  6. 6.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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