Cognitive complaints in survivors of breast cancer after chemotherapy compared With Age-Matched Controls: An analysis from a nationwide, multicenter, prospective longitudinal study Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Health Surveys
  • Hematologic Neoplasms
  • Oncology Nursing
  • Stem Cell Transplantation


  • © 2016 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.Purpose Cancer-related cognitive impairment is an important problem for patients with breast cancer, yet its trajectory is not fully understood. Some previous cancer-related cognitive impairment research is limited by heterogeneous populations, small samples, lack of prechemotherapy and longitudinal assessments, use of normative data, and lack of generalizability. We addressed these limitations in a large prospective, longitudinal, nationwide study. Patients and Methods Patients with breast cancer from community oncology clinics and age-matched noncancer controls completed the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Cognitive Function (FACT-Cog) at prechemotherapy and postchemotherapy and at a 6-month follow-up as an a priori exploratory aim. Longitudinal models compared FACT-Cog scores between patients and controls at the three assessments and adjusted for age, education, race, menopausal status, and baseline reading ability, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. A minimal clinically important difference cutoff determined percentages of impairment over time. Results Of patients, 581 patients with breast cancer (mean age, 53 years; 48% anthracycline-based regimens) and 364 controls (mean age, 53 years) were assessed. Patients reported significantly greater cognitive difficulties on the FACT-Cog total score and four subscales from prechemotherapy to postchemotherapy compared with controls as well as from prechemotherapy to 6-month follow-up (all P < .001). Increased baseline anxiety, depression, and decreased cognitive reserve were significantly associated with lower FACT-Cog total scores. Treatment regimen, hormone, or radiation therapy was not significantly associated with FACT-Cog total scores in patients from postchemotherapy to 6-month follow-up. Patients were more likely to report a clinically significant decline in self-reported cognitive function than were controls from prechemotherapy to postchemotherapy (45.2% v 10.4%) and from prechemotherapy to 6-month follow-up (36.5% v 13.6%). Conclusion Patients with breast cancer who were treated in community oncology clinics report substantially more cognitive difficulties up to 6 months after treatment with chemotherapy than do age-matched noncancer controls.

publication date

  • February 10, 2017



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC5455314

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1200/JCO.2016.68.5826

PubMed ID

  • 28029304

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 506

end page

  • 514


  • 35


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