Hippocampus-Related Cognitive and Affective Impairments in Patients With Breast Cancer-A Systematic Review.


Background: Although improvements in medical treatment lead to a steadily rising survival rate of breast cancer patients (BCP), it is associated with a decrease in cognitive and affective function. The hippocampus, a brain region with a high influence on both cognitive and affective function, is increasingly becoming the focus of current research because of its high vulnerability to adverse direct (chemotherapeutic agents, endocrine therapeutic agents, and radiation) or indirect (stress and other psycho-social factors) treatment-related effects. Methods: This systematic review analyses current data from literature combining hippocampus-related brain changes due to breast cancer treatment with associated cancer-related cognitive and affective impairments (CRCI/CRAI). The seven studies that met the inclusion criteria consisted of six cross-sectional studies and one longitudinal study. Results: The study results indicate hippocampal differences across all types of treatment. Those differences include volume loss, deformation, and changes in functional connectivity. They are associated with CRCI, revealing executive function as well as working memory, episodic memory, and prospective memory as the most affected domains. Although an interaction between hippocampus-related brain changes, CRCI, and CRAI can be hypothesized, CRAI are less reflected in current research. Discussion: More research including longitudinal assessments with better overall methodology is needed to fully understand the interaction between hippocampal alterations and both CRCI and CRAI due to breast cancer treatment.

More about this publication

Frontiers in oncology
  • Volume 10
  • Pages 147
  • Publication date 11-03-2020

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