Patients receiving standard therapy with taxane drugs for breast cancer were 3 times more likely to develop peripheral neuropathy (PN) than patients who also received cold therapy. These findings were published in Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing.

Studies in the literature have linked cold therapy with decreased risk for PN. This randomized controlled trial sought to prospectively evaluate the effect of cold therapy on chemotherapy-induced PN (CIPN) and quality of life (QOL). Forty-eight patients receiving paclitaxel for breast cancer were recruited between 2014 and 2019 at the Houston Methodist Hospital were randomly assigned to receive cold therapy (24 patients) or standard care (24 patients).

Cold therapy comprised wearing Elasto-GelÔ mitts and slippers (-20°C to -24°C) on hands and feet for 15 minutes prior to and 1 hour during paclitaxel infusion.

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The cold therapy and control cohorts, respectively, were median age 51 (IQR, 43-58) and 47 (IQR, 58-63) years, and BMI was 26.83 (IQR, 24.35-30.88) and 25.7 (IQR, 21.45-30.84) kg/m2.

Compared with cold therapy, patients who received standard care were at increased risk for developing PN with a progression toward severe neuropathy (odds ratio [OR], 3.64; 95% CI, 2.22-5.97; P <.001).

No significant effect of cold therapy was observed for emotional (effect size [ES], -0.79), physical (ES, -0.17), social/family (ES, -0.06), or functional (ES, -0.04) well-being components of QOL (all P >.05).

This study was limited by a high dropout rate, as only 15 participants remained in the cold therapy and 11 in the standard care cohorts by week 16. Most patients discontinued due to a change to their regimen or receipt of a new drug.

This study found that patients receiving standard care for breast cancer were 3 times more likely to develop CIPN than patients who also received cold therapy.

Disclosure: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Jue MY, Shah D, Stiles AS, Nisar T. Impact of cold therapy on paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy and quality of life in patients with breast cancer. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2022;26(1):93-99. doi:10.1188/22.CJON.93-99

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor