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Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2003 May;3(3):215-22.

Low neuropsychologic performance among adult cancer survivors treated with chemotherapy.

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Department of Psychiatry & Center for Psycho-Oncology Research, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA.


Decline in neuropsychologic test performance following adjuvant chemotherapy for various types of cancer has gained much research attention over the past decade. From available data, about one fourth to one third of individuals undergoing systemic chemotherapy exhibit measurable decrements in performance of standard tests of cognitive function. Many cancer survivors report that cognitive problems interfere with function and compromise quality of life. However, these declines appear subtle and there are little available longitudinal data examining pre- to post-treatment cognitive change. Further, there is little available evidence identifying the causes of cognitive decline. This paper reviews current literature on low neuropsychologic performance following systemic chemotherapy and hypotheses on the causes of cognitive symptoms following chemotherapy. Future research directions, with emphasis on longitudinal research design as well as treatment implications, are discussed.

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