Neurocognitive changes in cancer survivors

Cancer J. Nov-Dec 2008;14(6):396-400. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0b013e31818d8769.


This article provides an overview of the most recent literature on the cognitive adverse effects of chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer. The prevalence of cognitive dysfunction in patients treated with chemotherapy was variable in studies using a cross-sectional design. More recent prospective studies detected cognitive difficulties in subgroups of patients, mostly at short-term follow-ups, but other studies 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. A review of the literature suggests that considerable progress has been made in the investigation of chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction in recent years, and highlights the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to further elucidate the mechanisms that may underlie treatment-related toxicity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications*
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survivors*


  • Antineoplastic Agents