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J Clin Oncol. 2002 Jan 15;20(2):485-93.

Neuropsychologic impact of standard-dose systemic chemotherapy in long-term survivors of breast cancer and lymphoma.

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Department of Psychiatry and Center for Psycho-Oncology Research, New Hampshire Hospital, Concord, NH, USA.



The primary purpose of this study was to compare the neuropsychologic functioning of long-term survivors of breast cancer and lymphoma who had been treated with standard-dose systemic chemotherapy or local therapy only.


Long-term survivors (5 years postdiagnosis, not presently receiving cancer treatment, and disease-free) of breast cancer or lymphoma who had been treated with systemic chemotherapy (breast cancer: n = 35, age, 59.1 +/- 10.7 years; lymphoma: n = 36, age, 55.9 +/- 12.1 years) or local therapy only (breast cancer: n = 35, age, 60.6 +/- 10.5 years; lymphoma: n = 22, age, 48.7 +/- 11.7 years) completed a battery of neuropsychologic and psychologic tests (Center for Epidemiological Study-Depression, Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and Fatigue Symptom Inventory).


Multivariate analysis of variance, controlling for age and education, revealed that survivors who had been treated with systemic chemotherapy scored significantly lower on the battery of neuropsychologic tests compared with those treated with local therapy only (P <.04), particularly in the domains of verbal memory (P <.01) and psychomotor functioning (P <.03). Survivors treated with systemic chemotherapy were also more likely to score in the lower quartile on the Neuropsychological Performance Index (39% v 14%, P <.01) and to self-report greater problems with working memory on the Squire Memory Self-Rating Questionnaire (P <.02).


Data from this study support the hypothesis that systemic chemotherapy can have a negative impact on cognitive functioning as measured by standardized neuropsychologic tests and self-report of memory changes. However, analysis of the Neuropsychological Performance Index suggests that only a subgroup of survivors may experience long-term cognitive deficits associated with systemic chemotherapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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