OBJECTIVES: Oxaliplatin-induced neurotoxicity can be a dose-limiting side effect to effective chemotherapy. Acute hyperexcitability causes cold-evoked sensory and motor symptoms, which resemble neuromyotonia. An accessible and non-invasive technique for early detection could help select patients for potential treatments. We assessed the use of a simple surface electromyography (sEMG) in patients directly after oxaliplatin infusion.
METHODS: In patients with colorectal cancer, acute neurotoxicity was evaluated by means of a physical examination, a questionnaire, and sEMG directly after the second and fourth cycle of oxaliplatin. Questionnaires were also assessed 1 day after infusion.
RESULTS: 14 patients were measured after the second cycle and 8 patients were also measured after the fourth cycle of oxaliplatin. All patients reported to a variable degree oxaliplatin induced neurotoxicity symptoms: sensitivity to touching cold or swallowing cold items were reported as most severe. Clinical signs of hyperexcitability were observed in 55% of the measurements. Spontaneous activity compatible with neuromyotonia was observed in 82% of the sEMG recordings.
CONCLUSIONS: Patient reported symptoms, physical examination and simple sEMG are complementary measurements to detect acute oxaliplatin induced neurotoxicity. After further validation, sEMG recording can be used as a simple objective screenings tool to detect nerve hyperexcitability directly after oxaliplatin administration.