Overview. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a high-priority research area for NCI given its high prevalence, severity, and lack of established treatments. Patients with CIPN suffer from numbness and neuropathic pain in their hands and feet, especially from cold stimulation. Although drugs have not proven successful for treating CIPN, our preliminary data suggest that 6 weeks of exercise during chemotherapy reduces patient-reported CIPN symptoms (numbness/tingling). Exercise may be effective due to its widespread effects on multiple pathways involved in the etiology of CIPN, including inflammation and the brain. Our novel theoretical framework proposes that chemotherapy causes CIPN symptoms partly via chronic inflammation and by disrupting the brain?s processing of sensations from the body (interoception). If our theory is correct, future interventions can be tailored to normalize inflammation and interoception as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for CIPN. This application uses a 12-week phase II randomized clinical trial of exercise vs. nutrition education (control) to assess the preliminary efficacy of exercise on CIPN. Career Development Plan. Dr. Kleckner has experience studying interoceptive brain circuitry, and has recently begun studying cancer control and CIPN. To become an independent investigator studying and using exercise to ameliorate toxicities from cancer treatment, such as CIPN, he needs training in (1) designing and conducting clinical trials with cancer patients, (2) designing and conducting behavioral interventions, specifically exercise, (3) studying and treating CIPN and its etiology, specifically inflammation and the brain, and (4) integrating into oncology and symptom management as an independent investigator. Dr. Kleckner?s mentoring team has expertise in these areas and the environment at URMC is world-class for cancer control. Research Plan. Eighty women with breast cancer (non-metastatic, about to receive taxane chemotherapy, and no radiation or surgery during the trial) will be randomly assigned to 12 weeks of: Arm 1, standard care plus exercise or Arm 2: standard care plus nutrition education (control). The established exercise intervention (EXCAP), developed by Dr. Mustian (mentor), involves face-to-face instruction and a prescription for an at- home progressive walking and resistance exercise program. Nutrition education (control) involves equal time and attention as the exercise arm, but covers nutrition for cancer patients and lacks an exercise prescription. Measures include patient-reported CIPN symptoms, and clinical assessments of CIPN, inflammation, and interoception at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and 3 months post-intervention. Impact. Dr. Kleckner will obtain critical training required to become an independent researcher and will have data to support a future R01 grant studying CIPN. This work will provide valuable insight into the effects of exercise on CIPN and will explore its relationship with two currently understudied biological pathways? inflammation and interoception. This work is particularly important because CIPN has no effective treatments.

Public Health Relevance

(PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE) Over half of all patients receiving chemotherapy experience a dose-limiting toxicity called chemotherapy- induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), which involves numbness and pain in the hands and feet. There are no effective treatments for CIPN and exercise is promising yet understudied. This project will begin to investigate whether and how exercise can prevent CIPN and will support the future development of novel treatments.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Academic/Teacher Award (ATA) (K07)
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Subcommittee I - Transistion to Independence (NCI)
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Perkins, Susan N
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University of Rochester
School of Medicine & Dentistry
United States
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