Cognitive adverse effects of chemotherapy and immunotherapy: are interventions within reach?


One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. The community of cancer patients is growing, and several common cancers are becoming increasingly chronic; thus, cancer survivorship is an important part of health care. A large body of research indicates that cancer and cancer therapies are associated with cognitive impairment. This research has mainly concentrated on chemotherapy-associated cognitive impairment but, with the arrival of immunotherapies, the focus is expected to widen and the number of studies investigating the potential cognitive effects of these new therapies is rising. Meanwhile, patients with cognitive impairment and their healthcare providers are eagerly awaiting effective approaches to intervene against the cognitive effects of cancer treatment. In this Review, we take stock of the progress that has been made and discuss the steps that need to be taken to accelerate research into the biology underlying cognitive decline following chemotherapy and immunotherapy and to develop restorative and preventive interventions. We also provide recommendations to clinicians on how to best help patients who are currently experiencing cognitive impairment.

More about this publication

Nat Rev Neurol.
  • Volume 2022 Mar;18(3):173-185.
  • Publication date 09-02-2022

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