Age and history of diabetes may independently be predictors for the development of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

Researchers led by Dawn Hersman, MD, MS, of Columbia University Medical Center in New York, analyzed data from 1401 patients in 23 studies, using the Southwest Oncology Group database, to evaluate any potential associations among peripheral neuropathy and several other diseases including diabetes, hypothyroidism, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, varicella zoster, peripheral vascular disease, and autoimmune diseases.

It was found that patients who received paclitaxel were more likely to experience grade 2 to 4 neuropathy in contrast with docetaxel, and the inclusion of a platinum agent was associated with greater neuropathy.

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For each increase in age of 1 year, the odds of neuropathy were 4% higher. Patients who were found to have complications from diabetes had more than twice the odds of having neuropathy, in contrast to patients without diabetes.

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Patients with autoimmune disease were, surprisingly, found to be half as likely to experience neuropathy. No associations were found among the other diseases.


  1. Hershman DL, Till C, Wright JD, Awad D, Ramsey SD, Barlow WE, et al. Comorbidities and risk of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy among participants 65 years or older in southwest oncology group clinical trials. [published online ahead of print June 20, 2016.]  J Clin Oncol. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.66.2346.