Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Common, but Underdiagnosed

chemotherapy cancer
chemotherapy cancer
As many as 50% of neurotoxic chemotherapy patients experience CPN.

CHICAGO — As many as 50% of patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer experience chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, but most cases go undiagnosed, according to results presented at the American Neurological Association 2015 Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Noah A. Kolb, MD, of the University of Utah, and colleagues studied the frequency of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and other neuropathy codes in three large databases: the Utah Cancer Registry, Population Database, and Electronic Data Warehouse. Overall, 984 patients exposed to neurotoxic chemotherapy were identified.

Among the patients, 13.4% with breast cancer, 9.3% with colorectal cancer, 9.2% with urinary/bladder cancer, and 12.1% with uterine cancer had generic neuropathy codes, while 0.8% of those with breast cancer, 1.4% with colorectal cancer, 3.3% with uterine cancer and none with urinary/bladder cancer had chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy-specific codes.

Overall, 30 to 50% of patients who received neurotoxic chemotherapy had chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, however only 13% received a neuropathy code temporally related to their chemotherapy, signaling that chemo-induced neuropathy is under-coded by oncologists.

Future studies should focus on the evaluation of potential genetic and clinical risk factors, the researchers said.


  1. Kolb NA et al. Abstract S702. Presented at: American Neurological Association Annual Meeting 2015. September 27-19, 2015; Chicago.