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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 146

of 'Overview of neurologic complications of non-platinum cancer chemotherapy'

Development of neuropathy in patients with myeloma treated with thalidomide: patterns of occurrence and the role of electrophysiologic monitoring.
Mileshkin L, Stark R, Day B, Seymour JF, Zeldis JB, Prince HM
J Clin Oncol. 2006;24(27):4507. Epub 2006 Aug 28.
PURPOSE: Peripheral neuropathy frequently limits the duration of treatment with thalidomide for patients with multiple myeloma. We assessed the time course of occurrence, possible predictive factors, and the utility of serial nerve electrophysiological studies (NES) for detecting onset of neuropathy.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Seventy-five patients with relapsed/refractory myeloma were enrolled onto a multicenter trial of dose-escalating thalidomide with or without interferon. Patients underwent clinical assessment plus NES at baseline and every 3 months. Time to development of neuropathy according to clinical or NES criteria was compared. Patient and treatment-related factors were compared as predictors of neuropathy.
RESULTS: Thirty-nine percent had some NES abnormalities at baseline. Patients received thalidomide at a median dose-intensity of 373 mg/d. Thirty-one of 75 patients (41%) developed neuropathy during thalidomide treatment; 11 patients (15%) discontinued treatment with thalidomide due to neuropathy. The actuarial incidence of neuropathy increased from 38% at 6 months to 73% at 12 months, with 81% of responding patients developing this complication. Serial NES did not reliably predict the imminent development of clinical neuropathy requiring thalidomide cessation, nor were patient age, sex, or prior therapy predictive. Patients who developed neuropathy had a longer duration of thalidomide exposure (median, 268 v 89 days; P = .0001). Cumulative dose or dose-intensity received was not predictive.
CONCLUSION: The majority of patients will develop peripheral neuropathy given sufficient length of treatment with thalidomide. To minimize the risk of neurotoxicity, therapy should be limited to less than 6 months. Electrophysiologic monitoring provides no clear benefit versus careful clinical evaluation for the development of clinically significant neuropathy.
Division of Haematology and Medical Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Linda.Mileshkin@petermac.org