Elevated prefrontal myo-inositol and choline following breast cancer chemotherapy

Brain Imaging Behav. 2013 Dec;7(4):501-10. doi: 10.1007/s11682-013-9228-1.


Breast cancer survivors are at increased risk for cognitive dysfunction, which reduces quality of life. Neuroimaging studies provide critical insights regarding the mechanisms underlying these cognitive deficits as well as potential biologic targets for interventions. We measured several metabolite concentrations using (1)H magnetic resonance spectroscopy as well as cognitive performance in 19 female breast cancer survivors and 17 age-matched female controls. Women with breast cancer were all treated with chemotherapy. Results indicated significantly increased choline (Cho) and myo-inositol (mI) with correspondingly decreased N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/Cho and NAA/mI ratios in the breast cancer group compared to controls. The breast cancer group reported reduced executive function and memory, and subjective memory ability was correlated with mI and Cho levels in both groups. These findings provide preliminary evidence of an altered metabolic profile that increases our understanding of neurobiologic status post-breast cancer and chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Choline / metabolism*
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inositol / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Inositol
  • Choline