Can alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) prevent peripheral neuropathy caused by cisplatin or oxaliplatin?
People with colon and rectal cancer are often treated with oxaliplatin, and tingling, numbness, and pain in hands and feet associated with it can seriously interfere with being able to complete treatment. While most peripheral neuropathy caused by oxaliplatin eases after treatment ends, it can continue up to 18 months. In some patients it remains indefinitely.
Alpha-lipoic acid has been effective in treating peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes. It is an antioxidant, available as a nutritional supplement.
Led by Dr. Ying Guo, from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. a randomized Phase III clinical trial will study the potential for alpha-lipoic acid to prevent chemotherapy caused peripheral neuropathy or reduce its severity.
Patients who are scheduled to receive either cisplatin or oxaliplatin chemotherapy regimens are eligible for the trial if they do not already have symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
They will be randomized to take:
- Oral ALA three times a day for at least 24 weeks unless there is unacceptable toxicity.
- A placebo on the same schedule.
The study is double-blinded — neither patients nor their doctors will know if they are getting ALA or placebo.
The clinical trial will be conducted in centers across the United States. Contact information is available on the NCI Clinical Trials website or by calling 1-800-4-CANCER, the NCI Cancer Information Service.
The trial is featured in the April 3rd NCI Bulletin.