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Anthracyclines More Neurotoxic Than Other Breast CA Regimens

More negative effects on specific cognitive domains, network connections for breast cancer survivors

brain scan

THURSDAY, Dec. 3, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- For breast cancer survivors, anthracyclines seem to have greater negative effects on certain cognitive domains and brain network connections than nonanthracycline regimens, according to a study published online Dec. 3 in JAMA Oncology.

Shelli R. Kesler, Ph.D., from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and Douglas W. Blayney, M.D., from Stanford University of School of Medicine in California, conducted an observational study to compare the effects of anthracycline and nonanthracycline regimens on cognitive status and functional brain connectivity. Cognitive and resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired from 62 primary breast cancer survivors. Twenty, 19, and 23 of the women received anthracycline-based chemotherapy, nonanthracycline regimens, or no chemotherapy, respectively.

The researchers found that, compared with the nonanthracycline group and the no chemotherapy group, the anthracycline group demonstrated significantly lower verbal memory performance, including immediate recall (P = 0.03) and delayed recall (P < 0.001), as well as lower left precuneus connectivity (P = 0.001). In both chemotherapy groups, patient-reported outcomes related to cognitive dysfunction (P = 0.002) and psychological distress (P = 0.006) were similarly elevated compared with non-chemotherapy-treated controls.

"Further research is needed to identify potential methods for protecting the brain against the effects of various chemotherapeutic agents," the authors write.

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