Quality of life (QOL) for patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) was improved by wearing frozen gloves during treatment. The gloves reduced symptoms even though long-term differences in neuropathy were not observed, according to a study presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress.

CIPN is common adverse effect experienced by patients with cancer treated with oxaliplatin and taxanes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of wearing frozen gloves during chemotherapy for CIPN prevention.

In this study, 180 patients with newly diagnosed cancer receiving oxaliplatin, docetaxel, or paclitaxel therapy were randomly assigned to wear frozen gloves on both hands during treatment or a control group (no gloves). The EORTC-QLQ CIPN20 and EORCT-QLQ C30 assessments were used to measure patient-reported CIPN and QOL at baseline (T0), after 3 cycles (T1), at the end of chemotherapy (T2), and after 6 months (T3).

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The intervention group experienced less neuropathy at T1 compared with the control group (11% vs 24%, respectively; P =.009) and T2 (28% vs 43%, respectively; P =.038) compared with the control group. However, by T3, there were no significant difference between the 2 groups (28% vs 24%, respectively; P =.0884).

Patients in the intervention group also trended towards greater ease in day-to-day activities at T1, such as handling small objects (2% vs 10%; P =.06) and opening bottles (9% vs 6%; P =.06), compared with the patients in the control group at T1, respectively, and had significantly lower motoric problems (mean 8.3 [SD 9.7] vs 12.8 [SD 13.6], respectively; P =.013). 

At T1, QOL on EORTC QLQ-C30 subscales physical (mean 82 vs 74), role (mean 66 vs 51), cognitive (mean 85 vs 78), social functioning (mean 79 vs 67), symptom scales, fatigue (mean 40 vs 49), and appetite loss (mean 21 vs. 34) were all reported to be significantly higher in patients wearing frozen gloves vs those not wearing the gloves, respectively, (P <.05).

Frozen gloves therapy was discontinued by 34% of patients before the end of chemotherapy due to discomfort.

Study authors concluded that “future studies should focus on the biological process of cooling to prevent CIPN.”


1. Beijers AJ, Mols F, Ophorst J, et al. Multicenter randomized controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of frozen gloves for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Oral presentation at: 2017 ESMO Congress; September 8-12, 2017; Madrid, Spain. Abstract 1549PD.