Subtle hippocampal deformities in breast cancer survivors with reduced episodic memory and self-reported cognitive concerns

Alexandra C. Apple*, Anthony J. Ryals, Kathryn I. Alpert, Lynne I. Wagner, Pei An Shih, Mehmet Dokucu, David Cella, Frank J. Penedo, Joel L. Voss, Lei Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Cancer survivors have lingering cognitive problems, however the anatomical basis for these problems has yet to be fully elucidated. Clinical studies as well as animal models of chemotherapy have pinpointed cell and volume loss to the hippocampus, however, few studies have performed shape analysis of the hippocampus on cancer survivors. This study used high-dimensional deformation mapping analysis to test whether localized hippocampal deformation differs in breast cancer survivors who received adjuvant chemotherapy coupled with hormone blockade therapy, and if deformation was related to subjective self-reported concerns and cognitive performance. 3 T MRI images were acquired from 16 pre-menopausal breast cancer survivors and 18 healthy controls without a history of cancer. Breast cancer survivors had undergone chemotherapy within the eighteen months prior to the study, and were receiving estrogen-blockade therapy at the time of the study. Automated high-dimensional deformation mapping was used to compare localized hippocampal deformation differences between groups. Self-reported subjective concerns were assessed using Neuro-QOL Cognitive Function assessment, whereas cognitive performance was evaluated using the NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery. Relative to healthy controls, cancer survivors showed significantly more inward hippocampal deformation, worse self-reported cognitive functioning, and inferior episodic memory test score. This study is the first of its kind to examine the relationship between hippocampal deformity and cognitive impairment in cancer survivors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-691
Number of pages7
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
StatePublished - 2017


  • Cancer-related cognitive impairment (CRCI)
  • Hippocampus
  • NIH toolbox
  • Neurocognitive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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