Breast cancer chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction.
Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols
Central Nervous System
Cognitive side effects of systemic chemotherapy have become an increasing concern among breast cancer survivors, their families, and health care professionals. A growing body of research supports the hypothesis that chemotherapy can produce long-term cognitive changes in at least a subgroup of cancer survivors. We review evidence implicating systemic chemotherapy as the cause of cognitive changes; describe the limitations due to lack of longitudinal studies and gaps in knowledge (ie, no clear mechanism by which chemotherapy can produce cognitive changes has been proposed); discuss possible factors like age, intelligence quotient/education, and psychological, genetic, and hormonal factors that might increase risk for chemotherapy-induced cognitive changes; and outline future directions for research. Such future research includes large-scale, longitudinal studies of pretreatment neuropsychological assessments, use of imaging techniques and the development of animal models to study the mechanisms of chemotherapy-induced changes in cognitive functioning, and the development of interventions to prevent or reduce the negative cognitive effects of chemotherapy