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J Pain. 2019 May;20(5):515-527. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2018.11.003. Epub 2018 Nov 22.

Monoclonal Antibody Targeting the Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 Prevents and Reverses Paclitaxel-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Mice.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Pain Research Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Department of Anesthesiology, Pain Research Center, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio. Electronic address:


Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a disabling condition accompanying several cancer drugs, including the front-line chemotherapeutic agent paclitaxel. Although CIPN can force dose reduction or even discontinuation of chemotherapy, affecting survival in cancer patients, there is no US Food and Drug Administration-approved treatment for CIPN. CIPN in mice is characterized by neuropathic pain (eg, mechanical allodynia) in association with oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in dorsal root ganglia (DRGs), as well as retraction of intraepidermal nerve fibers. Here, we report that paclitaxel-induced mechanical allodynia is associated with transcriptional increase in matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 2 and 9 and decrease in metallopeptidase inhibitor 1 (TIMP1), a strong endogenous MMP9 inhibitor. Consistently, MMP9 protein levels are increased in DRG neurons in vivo and in vitro after paclitaxel treatment, and it is demonstrated, for the first time, that intrathecal injections of exogenous TIMP1 or a monoclonal antibody targeting MMP9 (MMP9 mAb) significantly prevented and reversed paclitaxel-induced mechanical allodynia in male and female mice. Analyses of DRG tissues showed that MMP9 mAb significantly decreased oxidative stress and neuroinflammatory mediators interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor α, as well as prevented paclitaxel-induced loss of intraepidermal nerve fibers. These findings suggest that MMP signaling plays a key role in paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy, and MMP9 mAb may offer new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of CIPN. PERSPECTIVE: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) remains ineffectively managed in cancer patients, potentially leading to the discontinuation of an otherwise life-saving treatment. Here, we demonstrate that a monoclonal antibody targeting MMP9 alleviates neuropathic pain and several mechanisms linked to CIPN. This study is particularly relevant, because a humanized MMP9 antibody is already in advanced clinical trials for the treatment of colitis and cancer, and it may be straightforwardly repurposed for the relief of CIPN.


Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy; matrix metalloproteinase 9; monoclonal antibody therapy; neuropathic pain; paclitaxel

[Available on 2020-05-01]

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