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.

Massage may alleviate chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) in patients with breast cancer undergoing adjuvant paclitaxel, according to a study presented at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. CIPN can be a debilitating adverse effect of chemotherapy treatment, one whose alleviation using pharmacologic approaches may also have its own major side effects. 

The study authors turned to massage as a multidisciplinary approach to managing CIPN. The study was conducted at Dr Abdurrahman Yurtaslan Ankara Training and Research Hospital in Turkey between July 2017 and June 2018, and included a total of 37 patients with breast cancer who had no previous diagnosis of CIPN, and who had received the first cycle of adjuvant paclitaxel. 

Continue Reading

Eighteen patients were assigned to an intervention group that received a total of 12 classical massage sessions on the days of chemotherapy treatment, encompassing a 20-minute foot massage and a 10-minute hand massage. Nineteen patients were assigned to a control group that received only routine care. Subjective patient assessment tools including Self-Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Sign (S-LANSS) was used to assess CIPN. Electromyography (EMG) was used as an objective CIPN measurement.

The subjective S-LANSS scores of the patients who received the massage were significantly lower than the scores of the control group. Additionally, based on EMG, the muscle action potential of the ulnar nerve and posterior tibial nerve were significantly higher in the treatment group than the control group at week 12. 

Related Articles

Based on these results, incorporating classical massage into the overall care regimen of patients with breast cancer receiving adjuvant paclitaxel may prevent CIPN in these patients.


Demirci U, Izgu N, Gok Metin Z, et al.A modest proposal for classical massage on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant paclitaxel: a randomized controlled trial using electromyography. Poster presentation at: 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium; December 4-8, 2018; San Antonio, TX. Abstract P4-16-11.