By Christine B. Brezden, Kelly-Anne Phillips, Mohamed Abdolell, Terry Bunston, Ian F. Tannock
From the Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Department of Biostatistics, Department of Psychosocial Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital; and University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Address reprint requests to Ian F. Tannock, MD, PhD, Department of Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital, 610 University Ave, Toronto, ON M5G 2M9; email email@example.com.
PURPOSE: Breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy have complained of difficulties in their ability to remember, think, and concentrate. This study assessed whether there are differences in cognitive function between breast cancer patients treated with standard-dose adjuvant chemotherapy compared with healthy controls.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: The High Sensitivity Cognitive Screen and the Profile of Mood States (POMS) were used to assess cognitive function and mood in a group of 107 women. The women consisted of 31 breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy (group A), 40 breast cancer patients who had completed adjuvant chemotherapy a median of 2 years earlier (group B), and 36 healthy controls (group C).
RESULTS: Univariate analysis showed statistically significant differences (P = .009) in overall cognitive function scores between groups A and C, with poorer function in patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. These differences remained significant (P = .046) when controlling for age, education level, and menopausal status. More patients had moderate or severe cognitive impairment in groups A and B than in controls (P .002). There were no significant differences in POMS scores between the groups, suggesting that the differences seen in cognitive scores were unlikely to be because of mood disturbance.
CONCLUSION: Cognitive differences were observed in breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy compared with healthy controls. These differences did not seem to be caused by significant differences in mood disturbance between the two groups. If confirmed, these results have substantial implications for informed consent, counseling, and psychosocial support of patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer.
C.B.B. and K.A.P. contributed equally to this work.
On breast cancer but
may apply to any chemo regimen
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