Neurocognitive test performance following cancer among middle-aged and older adults in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) and the SOL-Investigation of Neurocognitive Aging Ancillary Study

Cancer Med. 2023 May;12(10):11860-11870. doi: 10.1002/cam4.5863. Epub 2023 Mar 31.

Abstract

Background: Cancer patients and survivors often experience acute cognitive impairments; however, the long-term cognitive impact remains unclear particularly among Hispanics/Latinos. We examined the association between cancer history and neurocognitive test performance among middle-aged and older Hispanic/Latinos.

Methods: Participants included 9639 Hispanic/Latino adults from the community-based and prospective Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos. At baseline (2008-2011; V1), participants self-reported their cancer history. At V1 and again at a 7-year follow-up (2015-2018; V2), trained technicians administered neurocognitive tests including the Brief-Spanish English Verbal Learning Test (B-SEVLT), Word Fluency Test (WF), and Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSS). We used survey linear regression to estimate the overall, sex-specific, and cancer site-specific [i.e., cervix, breast, uterus, and prostate] adjusted associations between cancer history and neurocognitive test performance at V1 and changes from V1 to V2.

Results: At V1, a history of cancer (6.4%) versus no history of cancer (93.6%) was associated with higher WF scores (β = 0.14, SE = 0.06; p = 0.03) and global cognition (β = 0.09, SE = 0.04; p = 0.04). Among women, a history of cervical cancer predicted decreases in SEVLT-Recall scores (β = -0.31, SE = 0.13; p = 0.02) from V1 to V2, and among men, a history of prostate cancer was associated with higher V1 WF scores (β = 0.29, SE = 0.12; p = 0.02) and predicted increases in SEVLT-Sum (β = 0.46, SE = 0.22; p = 0.04) from V1 to V2.

Conclusion: Among women, a history of cervical cancer was associated with 7-year memory decline, which may reflect the impacts of systemic cancer therapies. Among men, however, a history of prostate cancer was associated with improvements in cognitive performance, perhaps due in part to engaging in health promoting behaviors following cancer.

Keywords: cancer; cancer survivors; cognitive decline; cognitive function; neurocognitive testing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Cognition Disorders* / etiology
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Status and Dementia Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms* / complications
  • Neoplasms* / psychology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Prostatic Neoplasms
  • Self Report
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms