A randomised, placebo-controlled trial assessing the efficacy of an oral B group vitamin in preventing the development of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN)

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Journal Article
Supportive Care in Cancer, 2017, 25 (1), pp. 195 - 204
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© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Introduction: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a debilitating side effect resulting from neurotoxic chemotherapeutic agents. This study aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of an oral B group vitamin compared to placebo, in preventing the incidence of CIPN in cancer patients undergoing neurotoxic chemotherapy. Methods: A pilot, randomised, placebo-controlled trial was conducted. Newly diagnosed cancer patients prescribed with taxanes, oxaliplatin or vincristine were invited to participate. A total of 71 participants (female 68 %, male 32 %) were enrolled into the study and randomised to the B group vitamin (n = 38) arm or placebo (n = 33). The data from 47 participants were eligible for analysis (B group vitamins n = 27, placebo n = 22). The primary outcome measure was the total neuropathy score assessed by an independent neurologist. Secondary outcome measures included serum vitamin B levels, quality of life, pain inventory and the patient neurotoxicity questionnaires. Outcome measures were conducted at baseline, 12, 24 and 36 weeks. Results: The total neuropathy score (TNS) demonstrated that a B group vitamin did not significantly reduce the incidence of CIPN compared to placebo (p = 0.73). Statistical significance was achieved for patient perceived sensory peripheral neuropathy (12 weeks p = 0.03; 24 weeks p = 0.005; 36 weeks p = 0.021). The risk estimate for the Patient Neurotoxicity Questionnaire (PNQ) was also statistically significant (OR = 5.78, 95 % CI = 1.63–20.5). The European Organisation of Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) quality of life, total pain score and pain interference showed no significance (p = 0.46, p = 0.9, p = 0.37 respectively). A trend was observed indicating that vitamin B12 may reduce the onset and severity of CIPN. Conclusion: An oral B group vitamin as an adjunct to neurotoxic chemotherapy regimens was not superior to placebo (p > 0.05) for the prevention of CIPN. Patients taking the B group vitamin perceived a reduction in sensory peripheral neuropathy in the PNQ. Moreover, a robust clinical study is warranted given that vitamin B12 may show potential in reducing the onset and severity of CIPN. Trial number: ACTRN12611000078954 Protocol number: UH2010000749
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