Article Abstract

Efficacy and safety of duloxetine in Chinese breast cancer patients with paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy

Authors: Jiani Wang, Qing Li, Binghe Xu, Tongtong Zhang, Shanshan Chen, Yang Luo


Objective: Chemotherapy with paclitaxel is associated with significant neurotoxicity that may offset patients’ quality of life and therapeutic benefits. This prospective, non-randomized control study evaluated the efficacy and safety of an antidepressant drug, duloxetine, at 30 or 60 mg/d, in the treatment of paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy (PIPN) in Chinese breast cancer patients.
Methods: A total of 102 patients with a median age of 50 (range, 25−60) years, treated in the Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Center/Cancer Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, between November 2014 and January 2017 were finally enrolled. Stratified by baseline characteristics, the patients were classified into two groups, receiving either duloxetine or alternative antineurotoxicity drugs. During the course of the paclitaxel regimen, the eligibility criteria included sensory neuropathy, as evaluated by the National Cancer Institute-Common Toxicity Criteria for Adverse Events. The treatment consisted of receiving 30 mg duloxetine (for the first 4 weeks) and 60 mg duloxetine for an additional 8 weeks, or any other anti-neurotoxicity drug daily during the same crossover period. The improvement associated with PIPN from the patient’s perspective were assessed by the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Taxane (FACT-Tax) Scales, which contained questions scored from 0 to 4 (0, not at all; 4, very much; total score range, 0−44).
Results: Duloxetine was more effective in decreasing PIPN (odds ratio=5.426; 95% confidence interval, 1.898−15.514; P=0.002). Between duloxetine group and control group, the median (25th−75th percentiles) decreasing difference in the FACT-Tax pain score was 4 (2−6) vs. 1 (0−4) (P=0.005).
Conclusions: Duloxetine is a promising and safe option with tolerable toxicity at a dose of 60 mg/d for Chinese breast cancer patients with PIPN. Non-neuropathy adverse events were mild and similar in both groups. The major toxicities of duloxetine included nausea, constipation, somnolence, dizziness and distention of the eyes. Further examination of the benefits of duloxetine in the prevention of PIPN is required.

Keywords: Duloxetine; FACT-Tax Scales; paclitaxel; peripheral neuropathy