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Eur J Cancer. 2010 Feb;46(3):479-94. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2009.12.008. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neurotoxicity assessment: a critical revision of the currently available tools.

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Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Technologies, University of Milan-Bicocca, Monza, Italy.


Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neurotoxicity (CIPN) is a frequent, potentially severe and dose-limiting side-effect of cancer treatment. Despite its clinical relevance that limits the use of several antineoplastic agents and even the future development of new anticancer drugs, several crucial aspects of CIPN remain unsolved, one of which is how to assess its occurrence and severity in the most effective and reliable way. CIPN severity is generally assessed using Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC) scales, although it is well known that significant inter-observer disagreement exists using these scales. Moreover, most CTC scores mix impairment, disability and quality of life measures, which could lead to misinterpretation of the results and unpredictable under- or overestimation of the effect. This uncertainty may lead to different interpretations of the results of the same clinical trials by clinicians and also by regulatory agencies. The use of other types of scale based on clinical and instrumental examinations, or the use of self-administered questionnaires for patients, has not yet really improved the accuracy of CIPN assessment, although some of these tools are promising and deserve to be further validated. As a result, there is a general recognition that CIPN has still not been properly assessed and that improvements should be made. In this review, the available data regarding the different tools used to assess CIPN will be revised and their features will be critically examined, with a special focus on their reliability and reproducibility across examiners and, when available, through direct comparison.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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