No indications of cognitive side-effects in a prospective study of breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy



Objective: A number of cross-sectional studies have reported reduced cognitive function in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy compared with other cancer patients and healthy controls, suggesting that chemotherapy could be associated with cognitive side-effects. Recently published prospective studies question this hypothesis, but it is still unclear whether cancer patients should regard cognitive problems as a potential risk when receiving chemotherapy.

Methods: In the present study we examine whether cancer patients (n=34) receiving chemotherapy differed in cognitive changes during treatment compared with cardiac patients (n=12) and healthy controls (n=12) tested at 3–4 months interval.

Results: Our results showed no differences with respect to changes in cognitive performance over time between cancer patients in chemotherapy, cardiac patients, and healthy controls. In addition, the number of individuals showing reliable decline or improvement on cognitive tests did not differ between groups.

Conclusion: Taken together, our results do not support a hypothesis of cognitive side-effects of standard-dose chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.