Send to

Choose Destination
Support Care Cancer. 2018 Feb;26(2):575-583. doi: 10.1007/s00520-017-3869-3. Epub 2017 Aug 28.

Cognitive functioning and quality of life following chemotherapy in pre- and peri-menopausal women with breast cancer.

Author information

University of Kansas Cancer Center, 2330 Shawnee Mission, Parkway, Westwood, KS, 66205, USA.
University of Kansas School of Nursing, 3901 Rainbow Blvd, MS 4043, Kansas City, KS, 66160, USA.
School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 360 Victoria Building, 3500 Victoria Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15261, USA.
University of Kansas Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Blvd, MS 4033, Kansas City, KS, 66160, USA.
School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 360 Victoria Building, 3500 Victoria Street, Pittsburgh, PA, 15261, USA.
Department of Psychology, University of California, 1285 Franz Hall, Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1563, USA.



The purpose of the study was to prospectively examine changes in subjective and objective cognitive functions and quality of life (QOL) for pre- and peri-menopausal women receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer and to explore potential predictors of cognitive changes.


Participants were assessed as follows: prior to chemotherapy (T1), after cycle 3 (T2), within 2-3 weeks of completing adjuvant chemotherapy (T3) (N = 20), and 8+ years later (T4; n = 18). Objective cognitive function was measured with the High Sensitivity Cognitive Screen (T1, T3, T4). Subjective measures for cognitive function, depressive symptoms, fatigue, and mental and physical QOL were assessed at all time points. Estradiol levels were measured at T1, T2, and T3. The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Cognition and the MD Anderson Cancer Symptom Inventory item for neuropathy were administered at T4.


No significant changes in objective cognitive function were found. However, participants reported decreased cognitive function over the course of treatment accompanied by depressive symptoms and fatigue. Depression and fatigue returned to near-baseline levels at T4, but over half of the participants continued to report mild to moderate depression. Estradiol levels were not associated with cognitive function. Neuropathy and higher body mass index (BMI) were associated with persistent cognitive complaints at T4 (adjusted R 2 = 0.712, p = 0.001). Higher QOL was correlated with better subjective cognitive function (r = 0.705, p = 0.002) and lower body mass index (r = - 0.502, p = 0.017) at T4.


Further investigation of BMI, neuropathy, and depressive symptoms as predictors of persistent cognitive dysfunction following chemotherapy for breast cancer is warranted.


Breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Cognitive function; Pre-menopausal; Quality of life

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center