Clinical features of taxane neuropathy

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Sensory neuropathy is the dose-limiting toxicity of paclitaxel and also impacts on the use of docetaxel and other taxanes. The cause of this adverse effect has to do with their mechanism of action against microtubules and its interaction with neuronal cytoskeletal components. The variability of this toxicity is defined by several factors including disease type, taxane class, schedule and dose of the specific drug, patient demographics, and use of taxanes in combination regimens (especially with the platinums that are also neurotoxic). Prevention of life-long neuropathy is only produced if the causative drug is halted – treatments to reverse toxicity have shown only minimal improvement. This review investigates trials defining the clinical factors that determine the therapeutic window of taxanes and the enhanced susceptibility to this toxicity. In addition, case vignettes illustrate the range of clinical manifestations of this toxicity during taxane administration.

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