Treatment-naive patients with multiple myeloma (MM) frequently have sensory deficits, according to a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Alyssa K. Kosturakis, from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues examined the incidence of subclinical neuropathy in treatment-naive patients with MM with no history of peripheral neuropathy.

The authors collected quantitative sensory test (QST) results for 27 patients with a diagnosis of MM, and compared them with data from 30 age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers.

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The researchers found that patients had an incidence of more than 80 percent for one or more subclinical QST deficit. Compared with healthy volunteers, patients had increased von Frey, bumps, and warmth detection thresholds.

Increases were also observed in cold pain and sensorimotor deficits (grooved pegboard test), and higher overall neuropathy scores were seen among patients. In patients versus controls, Meissner’s corpuscle density in the fingertips was significantly lower, and there was an inverse correlation with bumps detection threshold.

“Patients with MM commonly present with sensory and sensorimotor deficits before undergoing treatment, and these deficits seem to result from disease-related decreases in peripheral innervation density,” the authors write.

  1. Kosturakis, Alyssa K., et al. “Subclinical Peripheral Neuropathy in Patients With Multiple Myeloma Before Chemotherapy Is Correlated With Decreased Fingertip Innervation Density.” Journal of Clinical Oncology. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2013.54.5418. August 25, 2014.