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September 1987

Quantitative Sensory Testing Demonstrates That Subclinical Sensory Neuropathy Is Prevalent in Patients With Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology (Drs Lipton, Portenoy, Berger, Arezzo, and Schaumburg, and Mr Galer), Oncology (Drs Dutcher and Wiernik), Neuroscience (Dr Arezzo), and Scientific Computing (Dr Mizruchi), Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York.

Arch Neurol. 1987;44(9):944-946. doi:10.1001/archneur.1987.00520210044017

• Vibration threshold (VT) determinations were used to assess the function of the large nerve-fiber sensory system in 171 patients with cancer and 58 healthy subjects. Significant differences in VT indicate dysfunction of this sensory system in the cancer group. Twelve percent of the cancer patients had elevated VT compared with 1.7% of control subjects. Elevated VT was not associated with risk factors for neuropathy such as diabetes, renal disease, poor nutrition, or treatment with chemotherapy. Although VT elevation was associated with alcoholism and increasing age, these variables accounted for only a small proportion of the variance in VT. These data suggest that VT determinations are a useful method for quantifying sensory abnormalities in cancer patients. Sensory abnormalities occur in a significant proportion of patients with cancer and seem to be related directly to the neoplasm, rather than to known risk factors for neuropathy.

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