Utility of decompressive surgery in the prophylaxis and treatment of cisplatin neuropathy in adult rats

P. Tassler, A. L. Dellon, G. J. Lesser, S. Grossman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Cisplatin produces a dose-dependent and dose-limiting peripheral neuropathy in patients. This study tested the hypothesis that this clinical neuropathy results from the chronic compression of peripheral nerves rendered susceptible to injury because of cisplatin-induced microtubular dysfunction. A quantitative model of cisplatin neurotoxicity was developed by administering cisplatin to rats and measuring the neuropathy by hindlimb walking track assay. The study aims were: (1) to characterize neuropathy induced by cisplatin in the adult rat; (2) to evaluate the role of decompressive surgery in the prevention of cisplatin neuropathy; and (3) to determine whether decompressive surgery was an effective treatment for established neuropathy. The assay demonstrated an increased print length in animals after 8 weeks of cisplatin (p < 0.01). This neuropathy progressed for 6 weeks after cisplatin was stopped, and reversed slowly over 3 months. These abnormalities were prevented by early tarsal tunnel decompression. Decompressive surgery was also beneficial, if performed early in the course of the neuropathy; abnormalities reversed in 5 weeks and remained normal for the remainder of the study. Control animals had progressive abnormalities which slowly resolved over a period of 18 weeks after discontinuing cisplatin. However, decompressive surgery performed after the neuropathy was established did not alter the neuropathic walking-track pattern. These studies provide insight into the etiology and possible therapeutic approaches to cisplatin neuropathy. Although further studies are required, they suggest that, in selected patients, decompressive surgery may have a role in the prevention or early treatment of cisplatin-induced neuropathy. Patients with underlying clinical or subclinical compressive neuropathies could be at high risk for the development of cisplatin neuropathy, and quantitative monitoring of neuropathies may be useful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-463
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of reconstructive microsurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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