Can Chemotherapy Cause Diabetic Neuropathy?

  • Medical Author:
    Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C)

    Ruchi Mathur, MD, FRCP(C) is an Attending Physician with the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and Associate Director of Clinical Research, Recruitment and Phenotyping with the Center for Androgen Related Disorders, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Ask the experts

Can chemotherapy cause diabetic neuropathy (with blood sugars kept under control)?

Doctor's response

Certain chemotherapy drugs can cause peripheral neuropathy, such as vinca alkaloids (vincristine), cisplatin, paclitaxel, and the podophyllotoxins (etoposide and teniposide). This can occur in patients with and without diabetes. Individuals at greatest risk of peripheral neuropathy associated with chemotherapy are those with preexisting peripheral neuropathy from conditions such as:

The mechanisms of neuropathy that occurs with uncontrolled diabetes and with chemotherapy are different. If underlying neuropathy is present, there is a possibility of worsening with exposure to these agents.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE:

"Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of diabetic polyneuropathy"
UpToDate.com

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Reviewed on 7/24/2017
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