Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a dose-limiting neurotoxic effect of chemotherapy that affects many survivors. Obesity is also known to have a negative effect on neuropathy. This review aimed to determine what relationship, if any, obesity might have with the incidence and severity of CIPN.
Electronic databases PubMed, PEDro (Physiotherapy Evidence Database), CENTRAL (Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials), Ovid, and EBSCO were systematically searched from January 2008 to March 2019. All types of studies, data collections, and review articles were included in the adult population.
Twelve articles describing relationships between overweight/obesity and presence of CIPN were included in the review. Associations between body mass index (BMI), body surface area (BSA), and sarcopenic obesity and CIPN incidence and severity were described in patients who had received taxane therapy, platinum compound therapy, or bortezomib. Eleven of the 12 studies indicated an increased incidence of CIPN with higher BMI or BSA or sarcopenic obesity, and the 2 studies that analyzed severity of symptoms found an increase in those who were overweight/obese.
The number of studies specifically analyzing the relationship between overweight/obesity is limited. Also limiting comparison between studies is the categorization of obesity and the methods used to define CIPN.
Overall, being overweight or obese would put one at a higher risk for development of CIPN. Clinicians should encourage healthy lifestyles to help decrease or control symptoms and/or limit dose reductions of chemotherapy. Further research regarding changes in severity of CIPN with weight loss or gain is needed.
Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Oncologic Physical Therapy and Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Decatur Memorial Hospital, Decatur, IL
Correspondence: Mary Jesse, PT, DHS, Decatur Memorial Hospital, 2300 N. Edward St, Decatur, IL 62526 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The author declares no conflicts of interest.