Purpose: To review the etiology and assessment of chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment (CRCI). To explore current treatment and prevention strategies for CRCI and propose future research goals in the field of gynecologic oncology.
Methods: Computerized searches in PubMed of cognitive impairment in cancer between 2000 and 2012 were conducted. The inclusion criteria were randomized control trials evaluating treatment of CRCI and search terms 'cognitive function, cognitive impairment, cognitive decline, chemobrain, chemofog, and cancer'.
Results: To date, numerous modalities have been utilized for assessing CRCI in patients undergoing therapy. It has been proposed to move towards web-based assessment modalities as a possible standard. Few studies have aimed to elucidate possible treatment and prevention options for CRCI; even less in the field of gynecologic oncology. Only seven of these studies were subjected to randomized control trials. Only one of these studies looked at treatment in patients with gynecologic cancers.
Conclusions: The etiology of CRCI is multi-factorial. Following from this, there is no consensus on the best way to assess CRCI although objective measures are more reliable. One must extrapolate data from the non-gynecologic cancer literature, even venturing to non-cancer literature, to explore the treatment and prevention of CRCI. The methods found in these areas of research have not yet been applied to CRCI in gynecologic oncology.