BACKGROUND: This study evaluates persistence and severity of docetaxel-induced neuropathy (peripheral neuropathy (PN)) and impact on health related quality of life in survivors from early-stage breast cancer.
METHODS: One thousand and thirty-one patients with early-stage breast cancer, who received at least one cycle of docetaxel and provided information on PN during treatment, completed questionnaires on PN as an outcome (Common Toxicity Criteria (CTC) scores, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy 20 (EORTC CIPN20) and EORTC Quality of Life Questionnaire (QLQ)-C30) after 1-3years.
FINDINGS: Upon completion of docetaxel treatment, 241 patients (23%) reported PN, grades 2-4. PN persisted for 1-3years among 81 (34%) while PN regressed to grades 0-1 among 160 (66%). Among 790 patients (77%) without PN, 76 (10%) developed PN 1-3years later while 714 (90%) stayed free from PN. Significant risk factors for persistent PN were age ⩾55 (p=0.001), maximum grade of PN during docetaxel treatment (p<0.0001), persistent muscle and joint pain (p<0.0001), stomatitis (p=0.047) and fatigue (p=0.001). Persistent PN had a significant negative correlation with health-related quality of life (HRQOL), functional scales and symptom scales.
INTERPRETATIONS: Overall, 15% of breast cancer survivors treated with docetaxel report PN 1-3years after treatment with a significant negative impact on HRQOL.