ARTICLE ABSTRACTFor the constellation of neurologic disorders known as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, mechanistic understanding and treatment remain deficient. Here, we present the first evidence that chronic sensory neuropathy depends on nonlinear interactions between cancer and chemotherapy. Global transcriptional profiling of dorsal root ganglia revealed differential expression, notably in regulators of neuronal excitability, metabolism, and inflammatory responses, all of which were unpredictable from effects observed with either chemotherapy or cancer alone. Systemic interactions between cancer and chemotherapy also determined the extent of deficits in sensory encoding and ion channel protein expression by single mechanosensory neurons, with the potassium ion channel Kv3.3 emerging as one potential contributor to sensory neuron dysfunction. Validated measures of sensorimotor behavior in awake, behaving animals revealed dysfunction after chronic chemotherapy treatment was exacerbated by cancer. Notably, errors in precise forelimb placement emerged as a novel behavioral deficit unpredicted by our previous study of chemotherapy alone. These original findings identify novel contributors to peripheral neuropathy and emphasize the fundamental dependence of neuropathy on the systemic interaction between chemotherapy and cancer.
These findings highlight the need to account for pathobiological interactions between cancer and chemotherapy as a major contributor to neuropathy and will have significant and immediate impact on future investigations in this field.