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Acta Oncol. 2012 Nov;51(8):1036-44. doi: 10.3109/0284186X.2012.692884. Epub 2012 Jun 7.

Persistent pain, sensory disturbances and functional impairment after adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer: cyclophosphamide, epirubicin and fluorouracil compared with docetaxel + epirubicin and cyclophosphamide.

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Section for Surgical Pathophysiology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University, Copenhagen, Denmark.



Taxanes used in adjuvant therapy for breast cancer are neurotoxic, and thereby being a potential risk factor for persistent pain after breast cancer treatment (PPBCT) and sensory disturbances. The purpose was to compare patients treated with cyclophosphamide, epirubicin and fluorouracil (CEF) and cyclophosphamide and epirubicin + docetaxel (CE + T) in relation to PPBCT, sensory disturbances, peripheral sensory disturbances and functional impairment.


A comparative nationwide cross-sectional questionnaire study on two cohorts treated with CEF respectively CE + T, based on the Danish Breast Cancer Cooperative Groups database.


women treated with chemotherapy as adjuvant treatment for primary breast cancer, age 18-69 years, without recurrence.


One thousand two hundred and forty-one patients allocated to CEF in 2005-2006 and 1652 patients allocated to CE + T in 2007-2008 were included. Six hundred and sixty-four (53%) with CEF and 861 (53%) patients with CE + T reported pain. In the multivariate analysis including available risk factors, CE + T did not confer an increased risk of PPBCT, OR 0.95 (95% CI 0.81-1.11), p = 0.52, compared to CEF. Patients treated with CE + T had a lower risk of sensory disturbances in the area of surgery compared with CEF, OR 0.75 (95% CI 0.62-0.90), p = 0.002. More CE + T patients reported peripheral sensory disturbances in the hands, OR 1.56 (95%CI 1.27-1.92), p < 0.0001, and in the feet, OR 2.0 (95% CI 1.66-2.42) p < 0.0001, compared to CEF. There was no difference in functional impairment (p = 0.62).


Docetaxcel as adjuvant treatment for breast cancer does not increase the risk of PPBCT, sensory disturbances in the surgical area or functional impairment, but increase risk for peripheral sensory disturbances.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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