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26.01.2017 | Original Article | Ausgabe 6/2017

Supportive Care in Cancer 6/2017

Disease burden and pain in obese cancer patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy

Supportive Care in Cancer > Ausgabe 6/2017
Emily Cox-Martin, Lisa H. Trahan, Matthew G. Cox, Patrick M. Dougherty, Emily A. Lai, Diane M. Novy
Wichtige Hinweise
A portion of this work was conducted while the author was affiliated with the Department of Behavioral Science, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The authors have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review data if requested.



Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) and obesity are prevalent in cancer survivors and decrease quality of life; however, the impact of the co-occurrence of these conditions has garnered little attention. This study investigated differences between obese and non-obese cancer survivors with CIPN and predictors of symptom burden and pain.


Patients with CIPN were administered the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory and a modified version of pain descriptors from the McGill Pain Inventory. Independent t tests assessed group differences between obese and non-obese survivors, and linear regression analyses explored predictors of patient outcomes.


Results indicated a significant difference in symptom severity scores for obese (M = 32.89, SD = 25.53) versus non-obese (M = 19.35, SD = 16.08) patients (t(37.86) = −2.49, p = .02). Significant differences were also found for a total number of pain descriptors endorsed by obese (M = 4.21, SD = 3.45) versus non-obese (M = 2.42, SD = 2.69) participants (t(74) = −2.53, p = .01). Obesity was a significant predictor of symptom severity and total pain descriptors endorsed. Other significant predictors included age and months since treatment.


Cancer survivors with CIPN and co-occurring obesity may be more at risk for decreased quality of life through increased symptom severity and pain compared to non-obese survivors. This paper identified risk factors, including obesity, age, and months since treatment, that can be clinically identified for monitoring distress in CIPN patients. Future research should focus on the longitudinal relationship between obesity and CIPN, and robust interventions to address the multifaceted issues faced by cancer survivors.

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