Over the last 15 years, substantial progress has been made in the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma (MM). New chemotherapeutic options with the immunomodulatory drugs thalidomide and lenalidomide and with the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib have increased the response rates before and after autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (ASCT). Incorporation of the novel agents into the treatment of newly diagnosed MM and at relapse is now standard of care also for patients with MM not eligible for ASCT. However, the use of thalidomide and bortezomib is frequently associated with a dose-limiting peripheral neuropathy. In order to take full advantage of the therapeutic potential, a risk assessment for neurotoxicity is needed on a case-by-case basis. This assessment includes pre-existing neurological symptoms due to the MM, any comorbidities, and past or planned treatment regimens. The aim is to achieve maximum efficacy while minimizing the risk of developing chemotherapy-induced polyneuropathy (CIPN). This requires a neurological evaluation of the patient at regular intervals, the implementation of preventive measures, and the development of validated therapeutic strategies for emerging neurotoxic side effects. This review focuses on the incidence, prevention, and management of peripheral neurotoxicity due to thalidomide, bortezomib, and lenalidomide in the treatment of MM.
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