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Support Care Cancer. 2019 May;27(5):1765-1774. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4424-6. Epub 2018 Aug 27.

Wireless transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: an open-label feasibility study.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA.
Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA.
Department of Neurology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA.
Department of Surgery, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA.
Department of Neurology, University of Vermont Medical Center, Burlington, VT, USA.
Department of Physical Therapy, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA.
Department of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA.


Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) occurs in approximately 68% of patients who receive neurotoxic chemotherapy and lasts at least 6 months post-chemotherapy in approximately 30% of individuals. CIPN is associated with decreased quality of life and functional impairments. Evidence suggests that CIPN symptoms are caused, in part, by enhanced excitability and impaired inhibition in the central nervous system. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) decreases pain by counteracting both of these mechanisms and is efficacious in other conditions associated with neuropathic pain. This single-arm study (n = 29) assessed the feasibility of investigating TENS for CIPN after chemotherapy completion using a wireless, home-based TENS device. Eighty-one percent of eligible patients who were approached enrolled, and 85% of participants who received the TENS device completed the primary (6-week) study term. Qualitative interview data suggest that use of the device on the continuous setting that automatically alternates between 1-h stimulation and rest periods for 5 h/day would be acceptable to most participants. Significant (i.e., p < 0.05) improvements were observed with the EORTC-CIPN20 (percent change from baseline: 13%), SF-MPQ-2 (52%), numeric rating scale of pain (38%), tingling (30%), numbness (20%), and cramping (53%), and UENS large fiber sensation subscore (48%). Preliminary data that support the reliability and construct validity of the UENS for CIPN in cancer survivors are also provided. Together these data suggest that it is feasible to evaluate TENS for CIPN using a wireless, home-based device and that further evaluation of TENS for CIPN in a randomized clinical trial is warranted.


Cancer survivors; Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy; Feasibility trial; Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

[Available on 2020-05-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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