Can Poly (ADP-Ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors Palliate Paclitaxel-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in Patients With Cancer?

Ryan A. Balko, Andrea Wahner Hendrickson, Megan E. Grudem, Carolyn M. Klampe, Aminah Jatoi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Paclitaxel-treated patients can suffer from years of peripheral neuropathy with pain, numbness, and tingling. Promising preclinical data with poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors led us to explore this class of agents to palliate this neuropathy. Methods: We relied on a completed trial that tested the antineoplastic effects of veliparib (NCT01012817). Data from patients who had been enrolled on NCT01012817, who previously received paclitaxel, and who had completed a validated pain assessment instrument were evaluated for improvement in their pain scores. Results: All 34 eligible patients were women, and all had a metastatic gynecological malignancy. On a 10-point scale (higher numbers indicative of worse pain), the average baseline score was 3.6 (range: 0-7). Seven patients (21%; 95% confidence interval: 9%-38%) manifested a drop in pain score (1 score lower than baseline followed by at least one consecutive value also below baseline). Of note, no patients initiated other therapy for neuropathy while on NCT01012817. Conclusion: The PARP inhibitors merit further study for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. For patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy, these putative palliative effects might prompt earlier consideration of a PARP inhibitor as part of cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-75
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • PARP inhibitors
  • cancer
  • neuropathy
  • paclitaxel
  • pain
  • palliation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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