Is "chemobrain" a transient state? A prospective pilot study among persons with non-small cell lung cancer

Kriscinda A. Whitney*, Paul H. Lysaker, Amy R. Steiner, Julie N. Hook, Deborah D. Estes, Nasser H. Hanna

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


In patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy modestly improves survival when compared with radiotherapy alone. In light of the small survival benefit, there is a need to quantify any potential loss of neurocognitive function that may result from chemotherapy in this patient population. The current study examines cognitive functioning in 14 stage III NSCLC patients who received treatment with cisplatin/ etoposide/radiotherapy. Patients were assessed before receiving chemotherapy and at 1 and 7 months after treatment. At each time point, participants were administered a comprehensive battery of psychological and neuropsychological tests. In all, 71% of patients demonstrated cognitive impairment prior to any treatment. One month post chemotherapy, the majority of patients (62%) experienced cognitive decline; however, these negative effects apparently dissipated by 7 months post treatment, suggesting that the untoward effects of chemotherapy in these specific patients given this chemotherapy regimen may have been transitory. Cognitive decline did not appear to be associated with age, mood, fatigue, or quality-of-life measures. These findings demonstrated the importance of employing both a pre- and extended post-treatment assessment in chemotherapy research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Supportive Oncology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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