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Long-Term Neurotoxicity of Chemotherapy in Adolescents and Young Adults Treated for Bone and Soft Tissue Sarcomas

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  • Medicine


Purpose. To study the long-term neurotoxicity of chemotherapy in adolescents and young adults treated for bone and soft tissue sarcomas.Patients and Methods. Thirty-six adolescents and young adults (median age 17 years) were examined following chemotherapy for bone and soft tissue sarcomas. Twenty-nine (29/36) had received cisplatin (median 400 mg/m2), 15/36 ifosfamide (median 20 g/m2), and 12/36 vincristine (median 16 mg). Neurotoxicity was assessed at a median of 8 months (range, 1–54 months) after completion of chemotherapy by clinical examination, nerve conduction studies, audiograms and autonomic function tests. The same nerve conduction studies were carried out in 20 normal volunteers to define normal ranges in this age group.Results. Sixteen patients (44%) had a significant reduction in deep tendon reflexes, and this clinical parameter correlated well with abnormalities detected in nerve conduction studies. Vibration perception threshold (VPT) was raised in 20/36 patients (55%) and this was the most sensitive single test in the assessment of neuropathy. There was a significant correlation between VPT and cumulative cisplatin dose received in mg/m2 (r=0.607, p<0.01). Ten of 29 patients (35%) had abnormal nerve conduction studies with a pattern characteristic of sensory axonal neuropathy. No patient complained of auditory symptoms, but minor high tone hearing loss was detected by audiograms in 5/28 patients who had received cisplatin. No patients had symptoms of autonomic neuropathy, but autonomic function tests showed minor abnormalities in 4/22 patients tested, and all had received cisplatin.Conclusions. This study demonstrates significant, although asymptomatic, long-term neurotoxicity of cisplatin in adolescents and young adults receiving chemotherapy for bone and soft tissue sarcomas. Follow-up studies are planned to assess whether these neurological deficits improve with time.

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