Prior chemo linked to cognitive decline in women
Older women who have had chemotherapy for breast cancer are at increased risk of cognitive decline compared with their peers, but genetics plays an important role, a US study shows.
In the Thinking and Living with Cancer study, nearly 350 women over 60 with newly diagnosed non-metastatic breast cancer were matched one-to-one with healthy controls.
Cognitive function was tested at baseline and at one- and two-year follow-up.
While healthy controls and breast cancer survivors who had not had chemotherapy improved on scores for attention, processing speed and executive function over time – presumably because they got better at the test – women who had undergone chemotherapy had significantly worse scores at the two-year follow-up.
The effect was most marked in women who were positive for the e4 variant of the ApoE allele, known to be linked with Alzheimer’s disease, the authors