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Associations Between Perceived Stress and Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy and Otoxicity in Adult Cancer Survivors



The most common adverse effects from neurotoxic chemotherapy are chemotherapy-induced neuropathy (CIPN), hearing loss, and tinnitus. Although associations between perceived stress and persistent pain, hearing loss, and tinnitus are documented, no studies have examined these associations in cancer survivors who received neurotoxic chemotherapy.


In this cross-sectional study, we evaluated for associations between perceived stress and the occurrence of CIPN, hearing loss, and tinnitus, in 623 adult cancer survivors who received platinum and/or taxane compounds.


Survivors completed self-report measures of hearing loss, tinnitus, and perceived stress (i.e., Impact of Events Scale-Revised [IES-R]). Separate logistic regression analyses were done for each neurotoxicity to evaluate whether each of the IES-R subscale (i.e., intrusion, avoidance, hyperarousal) and total scores made a significant independent contribution to neurotoxicity group membership.


Of the 623 survivors in this study, 68.4% had CIPN, 34.5% reported hearing loss, and 31.0% reported tinnitus. Older age, higher body mass index, poorer functional status, being born prematurely, cancer diagnosis, and higher intrusion (P = 0.013), hyperarousal (P = 0.014), and total (P = 0.047) IES-R scores were associated with CIPN. Older age, being male, poorer functional status, a worse comorbidity profile, and a higher IES-R hyperarousal (P = 0.007) score were associated with hearing loss. Being male, having less education, a worse comorbidity profile, and a higher IES-R hyperarousal (P = 0.029) score were associated with tinnitus.


These findings suggest that increased levels of perceived stress are associated with the most common chemotherapy-induced neurotoxicities.

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