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Long-term Nerve Damage in Cancer Survivors: Identification of Risk Factors and Optimal Assessment Strategies GNT1080521

Project Member(s): Haas, M.

Funding or Partner Organisation: National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC Project Grants)

Start year: 2015

Summary: Nerve damage following chemotherapy treatment (chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy; CIPN) is a serious side effect that significantly affects quality of life in cancer survivors. However, there remains a lack of tools to identify toxicity and no standardised measurement criteria. Over the past 8 years, our highly experienced research team has established a comprehensive neurotoxicity assessment package to incorporate a full spectrum of clinical assessments including novel neurophysiological studies, patient-reported outcomes, functional assessment and genetic analysis. The current project brings together these assessment streams to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the long-term and functional impact of CIPN. We will investigate the scope and impact of CIPN via large-scale cross-sectional and prospective studies, incorporating patients with colorectal cancer, breast and ovarian cancers, and haematological malignancies. The cross-sectional study (N=650) will examine patients 1¿5 years post chemotherapy to quantify sensory loss and functional disability and determine the impact of lasting CIPN on both the patient and the health system. The prospective study (N=350) will follow patients throughout treatment and for 2 years follow-up to identify the earliest signs of permanent nerve damage and determine how best to identify patients at-risk of severe neurotoxicity. The substantial data from these two study arms will provide an extensive databank which we will utilise to examine risk factors for the development of CIPN- including age, diabetes mellitus, genetic polymorphisms and the presence of acute neurotoxicity. This project will identify the best assessment strategies for early detection of CIPN for implementation in the clinical oncology setting, and categorize a patient-specific neurotoxicity risk profile to enable better identification and measurement of CIPN and lead to improved outcomes for cancer survivors following chemotherapy treatment.

Keywords: nerve damage, cancer survivors, risk factors

FOR Codes: Neurosciences, Peripheral Nervous System, Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) not elsewhere classified