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Posted by on Jul 21, 2021 in Breast cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study aimed to investigate depression and cognitive (thinking and reasoning) functions after taxane-based chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer. 

This study concluded taxane-based chemotherapy commonly leads to cognitive impairment in these patients, but some functions improve or remain stable after stopping treatment.

Some background

Taxane-based chemotherapy includes paclitaxel (Taxol), albumin paclitaxel (Abraxane), and docetaxel (Taxotere). These drugs are common used alone or in combination with other chemotherapy drugs in patients with breast cancer. Up to 40% of patients who receive chemotherapy complain of cognitive impairments. Cognitive impairment is when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life. 

It was unknown how significant are the effects on cognitive impairment and depression are in breast cancer patients treated with taxane-based chemotherapy.  

Methods & findings

This study analyzed 11 other studies that included 1057 patients with breast cancer who received chemotherapy. 77% of these patients received taxane-based chemotherapy. Depression and cognitive impairment after 6 months of treatment were assessed.  

Data from 8 studies showed depression and reduced attention, concentration, and executive function domains related to chemotherapy after 6 months. Executive function refers to mental skills needed for self-control and managing behaviors.

An improvement was found in language and memory in patients who received taxane-based chemotherapy compared to before treatment and to patients with breast cancer who did not receive chemotherapy.  

The bottom line

This study concluded that the occurrence of depression and cognitive impairment in patients with breast cancer treated with taxane-based chemotherapy is common. Other domains such as memory appear stable or improve with time after stopping treatment.  

The fine print

Most studies analyzed included young patients. The protocols of the studies and the methods cognitive impairments were evaluated were different.

What’s next?

Consult your physician about depression and cognitive impairment as a side effect of taxane-based chemotherapy.  

Published By :

Frontiers in oncology

Date :

May 18, 2021

Original Title :

Cognitive Effects and Depression Associated With Taxane-Based Chemotherapy in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Meta-Analysis.

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