Cognitive Function in Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Adjuvant Chemotherapy

항암화학요법을 받은 유방암 환자의 인지기능

  • Received : 2012.01.05
  • Accepted : 2012.02.05
  • Published : 2012.02.29


Purpose: This study reviewed articles related to breast cancer, cognitive function and chemotherapy available in 4 databases. Methods: The researcher reviewed 32 pieces of literature that were published between January 2001 and November 2011. Results: Within the last decade, several studies have investigated whether adjuvant treatment of breast cancer affects cognitive function. A number of prospective studies have reported inconsistent results regarding whether chemotherapy affects cognitive function. Approximately half of the studies reported subtle cognitive decline in a wide range of domains among some breast cancer patients following chemotherapy, and others did not. Conclusion: Breast cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy showed the most deterioration and the most persistent decline in cognitive function. Since cognitive impairment is subtle, if evident at all, discrepant findings are due to hormonal, physiological, psychological or temporal confounding variables and differences in study design. Especially, that chemotherapy may impair memory, executive function, attention and visuospatial function in women with breast cancer.


Supported by : 한국연구재단


  1. National Cancer Information Center. 2009. [accessed on 1 July 2011].
  2. Reid-Arndt SA. Breast cancer and "chemobrain": the consequences of cognitive difficulties following chemotherapy and the potential for recovery. Mo Med 2009;106(2):127-31.
  3. Jenkins V, Shilling V, Deutsch G, Bloomfield D, Morris R, Allan S, et al. A 3-year prospective study of the effects of adjuvant treatments on cognition in women with early stage breast cancer. Br J Cancer 2006;94:828-34.
  4. de Ruiter MB, Reneman L, Boogerd W, Veltman DJ, van Dam FS, Nederveen AJ, et al. Cerebral hyporesponsiveness and cognitive impairment 10 years after chemotherapy for breast cancer. Hum Brain Map 2011;32:1206-19.
  5. Vodermaier A. Breast cancer treatment and cognitive function: the current state of evidence, underlying mechanisms and potential treatments. Women's Health 2009;5:503-16.
  6. Calvio L, Peugeot M, Bruns GL, Todd BL, Feuerstein M. Measures of cognitive function and work in occupationally active breast cancer survivors. J Occup Environ Med 2010;52:219-27.
  7. Vardy J, Wefel JS, Ahles T, Tannock IF, Schagen SB. Cancer and cancer-therapy related cognitive dysfunction: an international perspective from the Venice cognitive workshop. Ann Oncol 2008;19:623-9.
  8. Vearncombe KJ, Rolfe M, Wright M, Pachana NA, Andrew B, Beadle G. Predictors of cognitive decline after chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. J Int Neuropsychol Soc 2009;15:951-62.
  9. Hedayati E, Alinaghizadeh H, Schedin A, Nyman H, Albertsson M. Effects of adjuvant treatment on cognitive function in women with early breast cancer. Eur J Oncol Nurs 2011;9:1-8.
  10. Deprez S, Amant F, Yigit R, Porke K, Verhoeven J, Van den Stock J, et al. Chemotherapy-induced structural changes in cerebral white matter and its correlation with impaired cognitive functioning in breast cancer patients. Hum Brain Mapp 2011;32:480-93.
  11. Yamada TH, Denburg NL, Beglinger LJ, Schultz SK. Neuropsychological outcomes of older breast cancer survivors: cognitive features ten or more years after chemotherapy. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci 2010; 22(1):48-54.
  12. Munir F, Burrows J, Yarker J, Kalawsky K, Bains M. Women's perceptions of chemotherapy-induced cognitive side affects on work ability: a focus group study. J Clin Nurs 2010;19:1362-70.
  13. Chung BY, Byun HS, Kim KD, Kim KH. Breast cancer and risk factor. J Korean Oncol Nurs 2008;8(2):120-7.
  14. Andrykowski MA, Burris JL, Walsh E, Small BJ, Jacobsen PB. Attitudes toward information about genetic risk for cognitive impairment after cancer chemotherapy: breast cancer survivors compared with healthy controls. J Clin Oncol 2010;28:3442-7.
  15. Biglia N, Moggio G, Peano E, Sgandurra P, Ponzone R, Nappi RE, et al. Effects of surgical and adjuvant therapies for breast cancer on sexuality, cognitive functions, and body weight. J Sex Med 2010;7(5):1891-900.
  16. Quesnel C, Savard J, Ivers H. Cognitive impairments associated with breast cancer treatments: results from a longitudinal study. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2009;116(1):113-23.
  17. Stewart A, Collins B, Mackenzie J, Tomiak E, Verma S, Bielajew C. The cognitive effects of adjuvant chemotherapy in early stage breast cancer: a prospective study. Psychooncology 2008;17(2):122-30.
  18. Jansen CE, Cooper BA, Dodd MJ, Miaskowski CA. A prospective longitudinal study of chemotherapy-induced cognitive changes in breast cancer patients. Support Care Cancer 2011;19:1647-56.
  19. Hurria A, Rosen C, Hudis C, Zuckerman E, Panageas KS, Lachs MS, et al. Cognitive function of older patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer: a pilot prospective longitudinal study. J Am Geriatr Soc 2006;54:925-31.
  20. Tager FA, McKinley PS, Schnabel FR, El-Tamer M, Cheung YK, Fang Y, et al. The cognitive effects of chemotherapy in post-menopausal breast cancer patients: a controlled longitudinal study. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2010;123(1):25-34.
  21. Wefel JS, Saleeba AK, Buzdar AU, Meyers CA. Acute and late onset cognitive dysfunction associated with chemotherapy in women with breast cancer. Cancer 2010;116:3348-56.
  22. Jansen CE, Dodd MJ, Miaskowski CA, Dowling GA, Kramer J. Preliminary results of a longitudinal study of changes in cognitive function in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy with doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide. Psychooncology 2008;17:1189-95.
  23. Seigers R, Fardell JE. Neurobiological basis of chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment: a review of rodent research. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 2011;35:729-41.
  24. Schagen SB, Muller MJ, Boogerd W, Mellenbergh GJ, van Dam FS. Change in cognitive function after chemotherapy: a prospective longitudinal study in breast cancer patients. J Natl Cancer Inst 2006;98:1742-5.
  25. Ahles TA, Saykin AJ. Breast cancer chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction. Clin Breast Cancer 2002;3 Suppl 3:84-90.
  26. Debess J, Riis Jo, Engebjerg MC, Ewertz M. Cognitive function after adjuvant treatment for early breast cancer: a population-based longitudinal study. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2010;121(1):91-100.
  27. Phillips KA, Aldridge J, Ribi K, Sun Z, Thompson A, Harvey V, et al. Cognitive function in postmenopausal breast cancer patients one year after completing adjuvant endocrine therapy with letrozole and/or tamoxifen in the BIG 1-98 trial. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2011;126:221-6.
  28. Hermelink K, Kuchenhoff H, Untch M, Bauerfeind I, Lux MP, Bühner M, et al. Two different sides of 'chemobrain': determinants and nondeterminants of self-perceived cognitive dysfunction in a prospective, randomized, multicenter study. Psychooncology 2010;19:1321-8.
  29. Bender CM. Chemotherapy may have small to moderate negative effects on cognitive functioning. Cancer Treat Rev 2006;32:316-9.