The use of photobiomodulation therapy for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: a randomized, placebo-controlled pilot trial (NEUROLASER trial)

J. Lodewijckx, J. Robijns, M. Claes, S. Evens, L. Swinnen, H. Lenders, S. Bortels, W. Nassen, R. Hilkens, L. Raymakers, S. Snoekx, S. Hermans, J. Mebis
Supportive Care in Cancer, Mar 21;1-9., 2022

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) in breast cancer patients.

Methods: A prospective, randomized placebo-controlled pilot trial (NEUROLASER) was set up with 32 breast cancer patients who underwent chemotherapy (; NCT03391271). Patients were randomized to receive PBM (n = 16) or placebo treatments (n = 16) (2 × /week) during their chemotherapy. The modified Total Neuropathy Score (mTNS), six-minute walk test (6MWT), Numeric pain Rating Scale (NRS), and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy/Gynecologic Oncology Group Taxane (FACT/GOG-Taxane) were used to evaluate the severity of CIPN and the patients' quality of life (QoL). Outcome measures were collected at the first chemotherapy session, 6 weeks after initiation of chemotherapy, at the final chemotherapy session, and 3 weeks after the end of chemotherapy (follow-up).

Results: The mTNS score increased significantly over time in both the control and the PBM group. A significantly higher score for FACT/GOG-Taxane was observed in the PBM group during chemotherapy compared to the control group. Questions of the FACT/GOG-Taxane related to sensory peripheral neuropathy symptoms showed a significant increase in severeness over time in the control group, whereas they remained constant in the PBM group. At follow-up, a (borderline) significant difference was observed between both groups for the 6MWT and patients' pain level, in benefit of the PBM group.

Conclusions: This NEUROLASER trial shows promising results concerning the prevention of CIPN with PBM in breast cancer patients. Furthermore, a better QoL was observed when treated with PBM.