Cognitive adverse effects of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients

Curr Opin Support Palliat Care. 2007 Apr;1(1):57-62. doi: 10.1097/SPC.0b013e32813a328f.


Purpose of review: This article reviews the most recent literature on chemotherapy-associated cognitive changes in women with breast cancer.

Recent findings: Most cross-sectional studies reported neuropsychological impairment in patients treated with chemotherapy, but the prevalence was variable. Prospective studies documented cognitive dysfunction in subgroups of patients treated with chemotherapy, but other reports found no evidence of impairment. Studies using neuroimaging techniques and animal models have begun to examine structural and functional correlates of cognitive changes associated with chemotherapy.

Summary: Significant advances have been made in the study of chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction over the past 10 years. The investigation of additional factors that may contribute to cognitive outcome, such as the effects of treatments other than chemotherapy and genetic susceptibility, is likely to further advance the field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Research Design


  • Antineoplastic Agents