Cryotherapy for docetaxel-induced hand and nail toxicity: Randomised control trial

McCarthy, Alexandra L., Shaban, Ramon Z., Gillespie, Kerri, & Vick, Joanna (2014) Cryotherapy for docetaxel-induced hand and nail toxicity: Randomised control trial. Supportive Care in Cancer, 22(5), pp. 1375-1383.

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This study investigated the efficacy and safety of cryotherapy, in the form of frozen gel gloves, in relation to docetaxel-induced hand and fingernail toxicities.

Patients and methods

After piloting with 21 patients, a consecutive series sample of patients (n=53) prescribed docetaxel every three weeks, for a minimum of three cycles, was enrolled in this randomised control trial. Participants acted as their own control, with the frozen gel glove worn on one randomised hand for 15 minutes prior to infusion, for the duration of the infusion, and for 15 minutes of after completion of treatment. Hand and nail toxicities were evaluated by two blinded assessors according to CTCAE.v4 criteria. To assess the potential for cross-infection of multi-use gloves, microbial culture and sensitivity swabs were taken of each glove at every tenth use.


Of the 53 participants enrolled in the main study, 21 provided evaluable data. There was a 60% withdrawal rate due to patient discomfort with the intervention. The mean incidence and severity of toxicities in all evaluable cycles in control and intervention hands respectively were erythroderma Grade 1 (5%/5%); nail discolouration Grade 1 (81%/67%); nail loss Grade 1 (19%/19%) and nail ridging Grade 1 (57%/57%). No significant differences were determined between hand conditions in terms of time to event, nor in terms of toxicity in gloved and non-gloved hands.


While cryotherapy in the form of frozen gloves for the cutaneous toxicities associated with docetaxel is safe, its limited efficacy, patient discomfort and some logistical issues preclude its use in our clinical setting.

Impact and interest:

4 citations in Scopus
3 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 64547
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Cryotherapy, Docetaxel, Hand and nail toxicity
DOI: 10.1007/s00520-013-2095-x
ISSN: 0941-4355
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright Statement: The final publication is available at Springer via
Deposited On: 18 Nov 2013 01:04
Last Modified: 26 May 2017 02:17

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