A review of movement disorders in chemotherapy-induced neurotoxicity

Allison B. Wang*, Stephen N. Housley, Ann Marie Flores, Sheetal M. Kircher, Eric J. Perreault, Timothy C. Cope

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Chemotherapy agents used in the standard treatments for many types of cancer are neurotoxic and can lead to lasting sensory and motor symptoms that compromise day-to-day movement functions in cancer survivors. To date, the details of movement disorders associated with chemotherapy are known largely through self-reported symptoms and functional limitations. There are few quantitative studies of specific movement deficits, limiting our understanding of dysfunction, as well as effective assessments and interventions. The aim of this narrative review is to consolidate the current understanding of sensorimotor disabilities based on quantitative measures in cancer survivors who received chemotherapy. We performed literature searches on PubMed and found 32 relevant movement studies. We categorized these studies into three themes based on the movement deficits investigated: (1) balance and postural control; (2) gait function; (3) upper limb function. This literature suggests that cancer survivors have increased postural sway, more conservative gait patterns, and suboptimal hand function compared to healthy individuals. More studies are needed that use objective measures of sensorimotor function to better characterize movement disabilities and investigate the underlying causes, as required for developing targeted assessments and interventions. By updating our understanding of movement impairments in this population, we identify significant gaps in knowledge that will help guide the direction of future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16
JournalJournal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • CIPN
  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Neuropathy
  • Sensorimotor dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Rehabilitation


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