Background and Objective
There is no agreement on the gold standard for detection and grading of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neurotoxicity (CIPN) in clinical trials. The objective is to perform an observational prospective study to assess and compare patient-based and physician-based methods for detection and grading of CIPN.
Consecutive patients, aged 18 years or older, candidates for neurotoxic chemotherapy, were enrolled in the United States, European Union, or Australia. A trained investigator performed physician-based scales (Total Neuropathy Score–clinical [TNSc], used to calculate Total Neuropathy Score–nurse [TNSn]) and supervised the patient-completed questionnaire (Functional Assessment of Cancer Treatment/Gynecologic Oncology Group–Neurotoxicity [FACT/GOG-NTX]). Evaluations were performed before and at the end of chemotherapy. On participants without neuropathy at baseline, we assessed the association between TNSc, TNSn, and FACT/GOG-NTX. Considering a previously established minimal clinically important difference (MCID) for FACT/GOG-NTX, we identified participants with and without a clinically important deterioration according to this scale. Then, we calculated the MCID for TNSc and TNSn as the difference in the mean change score of these scales between the 2 groups.
Data from 254 participants were available: 180 (71%) had normal neurologic status at baseline. At the end of the study, 88% of participants developed any grade of neuropathy. TNSc, TNSn, and FACT/GOG-NTX showed good responsiveness (standardized mean change from baseline to end of chemotherapy >1 for all scales). On the 153 participants without neuropathy at baseline and treated with a known neurotoxic chemotherapy regimen, we verified a moderate correlation in both TNSc and TNSn scores with FACT/GOG-NTX (Spearman correlation index r = 0.6). On the same sample, considering as clinically important a change in the FACT/GOG-NTX score of at least 3.3 points, the MCID was 3.7 for TNSc and 2.8 for the TNSn.
MCID for TNSc and TNSn were calculated and the TNSn can be considered a reliable alternative objective clinical assessment if a more extended neurologic examination is not possible. The FACT/GOG-NTX score can be reduced to 7 items and these items correlate well with the TNSc and TNSn.
Classification of Evidence
This study provides Class III evidence that a patient-completed questionnaire and nurse-assessed scale correlate with a physician-assessed scale.