Cold therapy to prevent paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy

Claire Griffiths, Nancy Kwon, Jennifer L. Beaumont, Judith A. Paice*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: This case-control study was designed to assess the efficacy of cryotherapy to prevent paclitaxel-induced painful peripheral neuropathy in women with breast cancer. Methods: Participants served as their own paired control, with randomization of the cooled glove/sock to either the dominant or the non-dominant hand/foot, worn for 15 min prior to, during, and 15 min after completion of the paclitaxel infusion. Outcome measures included the Neuropathic Pain Symptom Inventory, the Brief Pain Inventory, and quantitative sensory testing. Data were measured at each of six time points—baseline, post-treatment (approximately 2 weeks after the last paclitaxel infusion), and at the first, fifth, ninth, and final weekly paclitaxel treatments. Results: Of 29 randomized participants, 20 (69%) received at least one cryotherapy treatment, and 11 (38%) received all four cryotherapy treatments. Ten (34%) participants could not tolerate the cryotherapy, and six (21%) declined further participation at some point during the trial. Only seven participants (24%) were available for the final post-chemotherapy QST and questionnaires. There were no significant differences in measures of neuropathy or pain between treated and untreated hands or feet. Conclusions: Strategies to prevent painful peripheral neuropathy are urgently needed. In this current trial, dropout due to discomfort precluded adequate power to fully understand the potential benefits of cryotherapy. Much more research is needed to discover safe and effective preventive strategies that can be easily implemented within busy infusion centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3461-3469
Number of pages9
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Chemotherapy
  • Cold therapy
  • Paclitaxel
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Taxane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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