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J Pain Symptom Manage. 2011 Jan;41(1):126-39. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2010.04.021. Epub 2010 Sep 15.

Either called "chemobrain" or "chemofog," the long-term chemotherapy-induced cognitive decline in cancer survivors is real.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, Saint Andrew's General Hospital of Patras, Patras, Greece; Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine, University Hospital, University of Patras Medical School, Rion-Patras, Greece.
2
Department of Psychiatry, University of Patras Medical School, Rion-Patras, Greece.
3
Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine, University Hospital, University of Patras Medical School, Rion-Patras, Greece.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

In recent years, there is growing evidence in the medical literature to support an association between administration of commonly used chemotherapeutic agents and an increased risk for cognitive impairment.

OBJECTIVES:

We herein critically summarize data relating to the pathophysiological mechanisms by which chemotherapy may induce cognitive impairment in patients surviving from solid tumors. The clinical and epidemiological characteristics and the proposed management strategies to counter chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment (CICI) also are presented.

METHODS:

References for this review were identified by searches of PubMed from 1995 until December 2009 with related terms.

RESULTS:

Both the pathogenetic mechanisms and the overall clinical nature of CICI remain vaguely defined. Findings indicate that CICI is a relatively common event that, in most of the cases, remains underdiagnosed, thereby adversely affecting the quality of life of patients with cancer. Effective pharmacological interventions toward the symptomatic or prophylactic management of CICI also are lacking.

CONCLUSION:

Either called "chemobrain" or "chemofog," the long-term CICI in cancer survivors is real. The need for multidisciplinary care interventions toward a timely diagnosis and management of CICI is clearly warranted.

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