According to researchers at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, men with a mutation in their VAC14 gene are more susceptible to Docetaxil chemotherapy induced neuropathy and nerve pain. This debilitating side effect results from damage to the peripheral nerves and is felt by the man as weakness, numbness and pain most likely felt in the hands and feet.

The Moffitt study was published online in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. The researchers analyzed the DNA of 623 men who had participated in a randomized phase 3 clinical trial that included docetaxel chemotherapy therapy. A total of 50 (8.1%) men experienced peripheral neuropathy (PN) out of the total sample. After examining and comparing the DNA of both those men who experienced PN and those who had not they found that a variation in the VAC14 gene was highly associated with the incidence of docetaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy.

According to Howard McLeod, Pharm.D., medical director of the DeBartolo Family Personalized Medicine Institute at Moffitt understanding, “The genetic variant of VAC14 identified in this study could be useful for understanding the mechanism of docetaxel-induced neuropathy and may be informative for avoiding docetaxel treatment in patients at elevated neuropathy risk.”

If you are considering moving on to chemotherapy with Docetaxel you should discuss this issue with your doctor and determine with your doctor if you should find out if you have this genetic alteration prior to commencing chemotherapy.

ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2016.