Phenotypic Characterization of Paclitaxel-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Cancer Survivors

Kord M. Kober, Melissa Mazor, Gary Abrams, Adam Olshen, Yvette P. Conley, Marilyn Hammer, Mark Schumacher, Margaret Chesney, Betty Smoot, Judy Mastick, Steven M. Paul, Jon D. Levine, Christine Miaskowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Although paclitaxel is one of the most commonly used drugs to treat breast, ovarian, and lung cancers, little is known about the impact of paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy (PIPN) on cancer survivors. Objectives: The purposes of this study were to evaluate for differences in demographic and clinical characteristics as well as measures of sensation, balance, upper extremity function, perceived stress, symptom burden, and quality of life (QOL) between survivors who received paclitaxel and did (n = 153) and did not (n = 58) develop PIPN. Methods: Pain characteristics associated with PIPN are described in detail. Both subjective and objective measures were used to evaluate the impact of PIPN. Results: Survivors with PIPN were significantly older, had a higher body mass index, and a worse comorbidity profile. The duration of PIPN was almost four years, and pain scores were in the moderate range. Compared with survivors without PIPN, survivors with PIPN had a higher number of upper and lower extremity sites that had lost light touch, cold, and pain sensations. Survivors with PIPN had worse upper extremity function, more problems with balance, a higher symptom burden, and higher levels of perceived stress. In addition, survivors with PIPN had worse QOL scores particularly in the domain of physical functioning. Conclusion: The findings from this large descriptive study are the first to document the impact of PIPN on survivors’ symptom burden, functional status, and QOL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)908-919.e3
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Paclitaxel
  • balance
  • cancer
  • chemotherapy
  • pain
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • quality of life
  • stress
  • survivor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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