Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a type of nerve damage that can occur as a result of cancer treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are the most common causes of peripheral neuropathy in cancer patients. Symptoms of CIPN include tingling, numbness, pain and weakness in the hands and feet. CIPN can be a debilitating side effect of cancer treatment and can interfere with a person’s quality of life.
There is no cure for CIPN, but there are treatments that can help to ease the symptoms. Treatment options include medication, physical therapy, and acupuncture. This article will provide an overview of CIPN, its causes, symptoms, and treatment/management options.
What is chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy?
Cancer treatments work by attacking cancer cells. However, these treatments can also damage healthy cells, including the cells that make up the nervous system. This damage to the nervous system is known as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.
CIPN is a type of nerve damage that can occur as a result of cancer treatment. The most common cause of peripheral neuropathy in cancer patients is chemotherapy, but it can also be caused by radiation therapy.
The damage occurs when the cancer cells or treatment drugs damage the nerve fibers. This damage can cause the nerves to misfire, sending pain signals even when there is no injury. CIPN most commonly affects the hands and feet, but it can also affect other parts of the body.
During and after chemotherapy treatment, 30–40% of patients may get chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, which causes tingling and numbness in the hands or feet. Many people will experience this side effect long after therapy is completed. In most cases, the symptoms will generally improve or go away within 6-12 months, but in some cases, the nerve damage is permanent.
CIPN can be a debilitating side effect of cancer treatment and interfere with a person’s quality of life. Certain chemotherapy drugs are more likely to cause CIPN than others. There is currently no cure for CIPN, but there are treatments that can help to ease the symptoms. WinSanTor is developing a proprietary, first-in-class therapy to prevent and reverse nerve damage, including CIPN.
These symptoms typically begin during or after treatment and may worsen over time. CIPN can cause a range of other symptoms, including:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle cramps
- Weight loss
How CIPN is diagnosed?
CIPN is typically diagnosed based on a person’s symptoms and medical history. Further diagnosis is made by history and clinical presentation. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and when they began. They will also ask about your cancer treatment history.
In some cases, your doctor may order tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests may include:
- Physical exam
- Blood tests
- Nerve tests
- Imaging tests
- Nerve biopsy
How is CIPN treated or managed?
There is currently no cure for CIPN, but there are treatments that can help to ease the symptoms. Treatment options include medication, physical therapy, and acupuncture.
Treatments like cold therapy, electrical nerve stimulation and massage can also help to ease symptoms. There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat the symptoms of CIPN. These medications include pain relievers, antidepressants and topical treatments.
In some cases, the damage from CIPN is permanent. In these cases, treatment focuses on managing the symptoms and improving the quality of life. Managing CIPN symptoms can be a challenge. Some tips for pain management for those who suffer from CIPN include:
- Relaxation techniques
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur as a result of cancer treatment. CIPN most commonly affects the hands and feet and can cause a range of symptoms, including pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness. Treatment options include medication, physical therapy, and acupuncture. In some cases, the damage from CIPN is permanent.
WinSanTor is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of treatments for peripheral neuropathies. We believe in creating a solution that works and brings relief to millions who are struggling with this disease. Learn more about our company, our drug and subscribe to our newsletter.
- “Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy: A Current Review”. National Library of Medicine
- “Neuropathy From Chemo: Remedies, Duration, and More”. Healthline
- “What Is Peripheral Neuropathy? Cancer-Related Side Effects”. Cancer.org
- “Oxidative Stress and Nerve Damage”. ScienceDirect
- “Symptom Management Guide”. BC Cancer
- “Tips for Managing Neuropathy”. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute