The following article features coverage from the American Society of Hematology (ASH) 2018 meeting. Click here to read more of Oncology Nurse Advisor‘s conference coverage.

Many breast cancer survivors experience chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), characterized by potentially debilitating pain, numbness, and tingling. CIPN can be measured by subjectively analyzing patient-reported outcomes or by objectively performing quantitative sensory testing.

However, little is known about how closely these 2 measurements correlate. A recent study presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium evaluated how closely objective measurements of CIPN match what is experienced by the patient. 

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The study utilized baseline patient information from 2 ongoing clinical trials of breast cancer survivors who experienced moderate to severe CIPN after chemotherapy completion for at least 3 months. Subjective, patient-reported pain was evaluated using the Neuropathic Pain Scale (NPS) and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Gynecologic Oncology Group/Neurotoxicity subscale (FACT/GOG-Ntx). Quantitative sensory testing was measured using Vin Frey’s filaments tactile threshold, and by a biothesiometer measurement of vibration. The 2 types of data were then tested for correlation.

Researchers noted a moderate correlation between patient-reported numbness using the FACT/GOG-Ntx scale and the quantitative assessment. In other words, patient-reported numbness or tingling in hands and feet was associated with an objectively measured decrease in patient tactile and vibration perception. However, patient-reported numbness using the NPS scale was positively correlated with an objectively measured decrease in tactile, but not with vibration perception. 

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This suggests that the 2 subjective patient-reported scales correlate differently with objective measurements of CIPN. The authors concluded, “As CIPN presents a diverse range of symptoms, better quantifying the subjective and objective measures of CIPN can help incorporate these tools in observational and intervention trials.”


Bao T, Kwon A, Piulson L, et al.Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in breast cancer survivors: Comparison of objective and subjective measures. Poster presentation at: 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; December 4-8, 2018; San Antonio, TX. Abstract P1-11-15.