Neuropathic symptoms and their risk factors in medical oncology outpatients with colorectal vs. breast, lung, or prostate cancer: Results from a prospective multicenter study

Mark A. Lewis, Fengmin Zhao, Desiree Jones, Charles Lawrence Loprinzi, Joanna Brell, Matthias Weiss, Michael J. Fisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


Context Few studies have examined the prevalence and severity of treatment-induced neuropathic symptoms in patients across different cancer types. Objectives This study aimed to report the prevalence of numbness/tingling (N/T) and neuropathic pain in patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) vs. other cancers, describe the prevalence of moderate-to-severe N/T by specific clinical variables, and examine factors associated with the presence of these symptoms. Methods A total of 3106 outpatients with colorectal (n = 718), breast (n = 1544), lung (n = 524), or prostate (n = 320) cancer were enrolled at any point in their treatment. Assessments were conducted at the initial visit and 28-35 days later. Patients reported pain and N/T; clinicians reported mechanism of pain and ranked the top three symptoms causing difficulties. Results Moderate-to-severe N/T was higher in patients with CRC relative to other cancer types (25.8% vs. 17.1%, P < 0.001); 25% vs. 10.5% of clinicians rated N/T as a top three symptom for patients with CRC relative to other cancers (P < 0.001). The prevalence of neuropathic pain was comparable between patients with CRC and other cancers (P = 0.654). Patients with CRC, longer duration of cancer, prior therapy, on current therapy, older patients, and patients of black race experienced worse N/T. Conclusion Patients with CRC experience significantly higher rates of N/T but comparable neuropathic pain, relative to patients with other cancers. Awareness of the prevalence and severity of neuropathic symptoms and their associated risk factors in this patient population is critical for both clinicians and patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1016-1024
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015



  • Colorectal cancer
  • neuropathic pain
  • neuropathy
  • numbness/tingling
  • oxaliplatin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Nursing(all)

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