The effects of cisplatinum and vincristine on peripheral nerve regeneration

Keith Brandt, Gregory R.D. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Current treatment modalities for extremity sarcoma often include tumor extirpation plus neoadjuvant therapy. Limb-sparing surgery may require reconstruction of critical nerve defects. Neurotoxic side effects from adjuvant chemotherapy have been reported and raise concerns regarding the effects of chemotherapy on nerve regeneration. In an attempt to define the effects of adjuvant chemotherapy on peripheral nerve regeneration, cisplatin and vincristine were administered to rats following isografting of the posterior tibial nerve. Parameters used to assess peripheral nerve regeneration included walking track analysis and histomorphology. Sixty 250- g Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly allocated into one of three treatment groups. Each animal underwent a 15-mm reversed interposition nerve isograft from 30 donor rats into the right posterior tibial nerve. Ten animals served as control. The remaining animals were divided into two groups of 25 animals each. One group received cisplatin (75 mg/m2) and the other group received vincristine (1 mg/m2). Chemotherapy was administered at 4-week cycles for a total of six cycles (24 weeks). Walking track analysis was performed monthly. Nerve specimens were harvested from the grafted segment and the distal posterior tibial nerve for histomorphology. Walking track analysis demonstrated no statistical difference in print length between the control and chemotherapeutic groups at the conclusion of the study. The number of axons per square millimeter and nerve fiber density were not statistically different between control and chemotherapeutic groups. In the rodent posterior tibial nerve model, postoperative adjuvant therapy does not significantly alter functional outcome in peripheral nerve regeneration. The practice of immediate nerve grafting after tumor extirpation, despite planned postoperative chemotherapy, is supported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-469
Number of pages6
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1999


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