Associations between peripheral neuropathy and nausea/vomiting in survivors of ovarian cancer Ovarian Cancer and Us OVARIAN CANCER and US Ovarian Cancer and Us

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Associations between peripheral neuropathy and nausea/vomiting in survivors of ovarian cancer



Abstract 165 -- ASCO Meeting

Associations between peripheral neuropathy and nausea/vomiting in survivors of ovarian cancer: Evidence of persistent vagal neuropathies?

Background: Persistent numbness and tingling in extremities are reported by many ovarian cancer survivors and are widely recognized symptoms of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Minimal research has addressed the possibility that chemotherapy may also result in vagal neuropathy (def.: irritation of the nerves in the throat) with associated adverse effects on somatosensory input to the brain. We hypothesize that ovarian cancer survivors with persistent numbness and tingling, hallmark symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, will report higher levels of nausea and vomiting, consistent with vagal neuropathy.  
Methods: A secondary analysis was conducted with data from 713 respondents to a survey of randomly selected members of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition with a history of ovarian cancer. A validated questionnaire was used to assess symptom severity (0-10) at it worst over the past week for 22 commonly reported symptoms. For the present study, analyses were limited to women reporting no evidence of disease following chemotherapy (n = 362) at a mean of 50.3 months post-treatment. The mean age of the sample was 53.1y; 71.7% were married; 54.5% were college graduates. The symptom experiences of women with persistent numbness and tingling , N/T, (n = 206) were statistically compared to those without numbness and tingling (n = 156) with age and time since treatment included as covariates.  
Results: Ovarian cancer survivors with N/T had significantly higher levels of nausea (p < 0.001) and vomiting (p < 0.001), as well as several other symptoms consistent with vagal neuropathy, compared to women without N/T. Sensitivity analysis indicated that among women with the highest N/T severity (7-10), nausea severity was nearly three times higher than among women with the lowest levels of N/T severity (1-3), p < 0.002.  
Conclusions: Consistent with the study hypothesis, ovarian cancer survivors with persistent numbness and tingling also reported higher levels of nausea and vomiting. These results suggest the importance of new research efforts to examine vagal neuropathy in ovarian cancer survivors.

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