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An exploratory study to identify risk factors for the development of capecitabine-induced Palmar Plantar Erythrodysesthesia (PPE)AIMS: To identify pre-treatment risk factors for the development of Palmar Plantar Erythrodysesthesia in participants receiving capecitabine monotherapy. Specifically the hypothesis that avoidance of activities that cause friction and pressure cause Palmar Plantar Erythrodysesthesia was tested. BACKGROUND: Previous literature showed contradictory evidence on the subject of predictors of chemotherapy-induced Palmar Plantar Erythrodysesthesia. There is a lack of empirical evidence to support the theory that Palmar Plantar Erythrodysesthesia is caused by damage to the microcapillaries due to everyday activities that cause friction or pressure to the hands or feet. DESIGN: Prospective epidemiological study of risk factors. METHODS: Prospective data collection. All patients prior to commencing capecitabine monotherapy between 11 June 2009-31 December 2010, were offered recruitment into the study and followed up for six cycles of treatment (n = 174). Data were collected during semi-structured interviews, from participants' diaries, physical examination of the hands and feet and review of notes. Data relating to activities that cause friction, pressure or heat were collected. Data were analysed using bivariate (chi-square and independent groups Student's t) tests where each independent variable was analysed against Palmar Plantar Erythrodysesthesia. RESULTS: The only variables that were associated with an increased risk of Palmar Plantar Erythrodysesthesia were a tendency to have warm hands and pre-existing inflammatory disease. CONCLUSIONS: This study gives no support for the hypothesis that avoidance of activities that cause friction and pressure cause Palmar Plantar Erythrodysesthesia.