Potentially No Relationship Between Anthracycline Chemotherapy and Cognitive Decline

Anthracycline chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment may not cause decline in cognitive function.

A recent study suggests there is no association between receiving anthracycline chemotherapy and cognitive decline for breast cancer survivors.

Adverse effects seen from breast cancer treatments on cognitive function have been noted in previous studies, but the risks of specific types of chemotherapy have not been identified.

According to a study published in JAMA Oncology, researchers conducted a secondary analysis of Mind Body Study data to determine the possible adverse effects of anthracycline chemotherapy on cognitive function.

Researchers analyzed data from neuropsychological tests that measured memory, processing speed, and executive function. Patients were evaluated within 3 months of primary treatment, at 6 months, at 1 year, and an average of 4.8 years after treatment.

The data suggested there was no difference in cognitive function after treatment among women who received chemotherapy with or without anthracycline and women who did not receive chemotherapy. Data also revealed that cognitive function 7 years after treatment was comparable between the groups.

Although this is contradictory to the findings of other studies, researchers in the current study found no association between anthracycline and cognitive function on any measure they analyzed.

"In conclusion, in this study we could not find evidence to support the claim that anthracycline treatment confers greater risk of cognitive decline for breast cancer survivors," the study authors wrote.