A Study Comparing Scrambler Therapy versus TENS Therapy in Treating Patients with Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy


About this study

This randomized clinical trial studies how well MC5-A scrambler therapy or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy work in treating patients with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (a nerve problem that causes pain, numbness, tingling, swelling, or muscle weakness in different parts of the body). MC5-A scrambler therapy is a type of treatment for nerve pain that uses electrodes placed on the skin, where electricity is carried from the electrodes through the skin and blocks the pain. TENS is a procedure in which mild electric currents are applied to some areas of the skin. It is not yet known whether TENS therapy is more effective than MC5-A scrambler therapy in treating chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Pain or symptoms of CIPN of >= 3 months duration, for which the patient wants intervention
    • Note: neurotoxic chemotherapy must have been completed >= 3 months prior to registration and there must be no further planned neurotoxic chemotherapy for > 5 months after registration
  • Patients have to relate that tingling or pain was at least a four out of ten problem =< 7 days prior to registration, on a 0-10 scale where zero was no problem and ten was the worst possible problem
    • Note: the patient is expected to have tingling or pain of at least 4/10 at the time of the first treatment
  • Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS) = 0, 1, or 2
  • Life expectancy >= 6 months
  • Ability to complete questionnaire(s) by themselves or with assistance
  • Ability to provide informed written consent
  • Case review by the study chair, or designate, as a case where treatment should be tried

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Any of the following:
    • Pregnant women
    • Nursing women
    • Women of childbearing potential who are unwilling to employ adequate contraception
  • Existing operational implantable drug delivery systems, e.g. Medtronic Synchromed
  • Existing implantable medical electronic devices, life-supporting medical devices, and medical monitoring devices
    • Note: metal implants for orthopedic repair, e.g. pins, clips, plates, cages, joint replacements are allowed as are central venous access devices
  • History of myocardial infarction or ischemic heart disease within the past six months
  • History of epilepsy, brain damage, use of anticonvulsants for seizure prevention, concurrently using ketamine, symptomatic brain metastases
  • Skin conditions such as open sores that would prevent proper application of the electrodes
  • Other medical or other condition(s) that in the opinion of the investigators might compromise the objectives of the study
  • Currently receiving gabapentin or pregabalin and not willing to be weaned off of these medications prior to Scrambler therapy initiation
    • Note: it is OK to continue these medications in patients who are receiving TENS
  • History of peripheral neuropathy prior to receiving neurotoxic chemotherapy
  • Prior treatment with Scrambler therapy

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Charles Loprinzi, M.D.

Closed for enrollment

Contact information:

Cancer Center Clinical Trials Referral Office

(855) 776-0015

More information


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