Pilot study of the prospective identification of changes in cognitive function during chemotherapy treatment for advanced ovarian cancer

Lisa M. Hess, Setsuko K. Chambers, Kenneth Hatch, Alton Hallum, Mike F. Janicek, Joseph Buscema, Matthew Borst, Cynthia Johnson, Lisa Slayton, Yuda Chongpison, David S. Alberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Change in cognitive function is increasingly being recognized as an adverse outcome related to chemotherapy treatment. These changes need not be severe to impact patient functional ability and quality of life. The primary goal of this study was to determine if there is evidence of changes in the cognitive function domains of attention, processing speed, and response time among women with newly diagnosed advanced ovarian cancer who receive chemotherapy. Eligible patients were women diagnosed with stage III-IV epithelial ovarian or primary peritoneal cancer who had not yet received chemotherapy but who were prescribed a minimum of six cycles (courses) of chemotherapy treatment. Cognitive function was assessed by a computerized, Web-based assessment (attention, processing speed, and reaction time) and by patient self-report. Cognitive function was assessed at three time points: prior to the first course (baseline), course three, and course six. Medical records were reviewed to abstract information on chemotherapy treatment, concomitant medications, and blood test results (eg, hemoglobin, CA-125). Of the 27 eligible participants, 92% and 86% demonstrated cognitive impairments from baseline to course three and from baseline to course six of chemotherapy, respectively. Impairment was detected in two or more cognitive domains among 48% (12 of 25) and 41% (9 of 22) of participants at course three and course six of chemotherapy, respectively. This study shows evidence of decline in cognitive function among women being treated for ovarian cancer. There is a need for additional, prospective research to better understand the impact of chemotherapy on cognitive function among ovarian cancer patients so that effective preventive and treatment strategies can be developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-258
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Supportive Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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