Navigation Links
Cognitive Skills May Shrink With Tamoxifen

Breast cancer drug still has lifesaving qualities, expert stresses

THURSDAY, Feb. 11 (HealthDay News) -- The breast cancer drug tamoxifen -- used for three decades to treat the disease -- appears to affect cognitive abilities, including some types of memory, a new study has found.

"Our results are important for breast cancer patients because intact cognitive functioning is known to be an important precondition for well-being," said study author Christien Schilder, a doctoral student at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam.

After a year of taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex), women in the study scored lower on tests of verbal memory functioning and other cognitive skills than did women taking another breast cancer drug, exemestane (Aromasin).

Both drugs are considered hormone (or endocrine) therapy. Tamoxifen interferes with the activity of estrogen, which can promote the growth of breast cancer. Exemestane is an aromatase inhibitor, which decreases estrogen production in postmenopausal women.

Endocrine therapy is offered to many women with breast cancer, and "the choice for a specific endocrine agent and therapy sequence is, among others, based on the safety profile," Schilder said. "Therefore, we think that our results justify continuing research into the cognitive effects of endocrine therapy for breast cancer patients."

Schilder's study, funded by Pfizer, which makes Aromasin, was published online Feb. 8 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

For the study, the researchers gave neuropsychological evaluations to 299 women, including 179 with breast cancer. Testing was done at the start of the study and again after the women with breast cancer had had a year of hormone therapy -- 80 women taking tamoxifen and 99 taking exemestane.

The researchers found that tamoxifen users had lower scores in verbal memory and executive functioning -- which includes such things as being able to shift attention between two different parts of a task -- than did women without breast cancer. Women taking exemestane had smaller declines in these two areas, considered not statistically significant, compared with the healthy women, Schilder noted.

Those on tamoxifen also fared worse on information-processing speed than the exemestane users, the researchers found.

No substantial differences were found between any of the three groups in terms of visual memory, working memory, verbal fluency, reaction speed and motor speed, according to the study.

Exactly why the tamoxifen users fared worse is not known, Schilder said. "The mechanisms of action of tamoxifen on the brain are hardly known yet," she said, adding that one possibility is that tamoxifen might counteract possible beneficial action of estrogen on the brain.

Dr. Victor G. Vogel, vice president of research for the American Cancer Society, said the results were not surprising. And though the reason women on tamoxifen had more cognitive decline isn't known, he said a logical though unproven explanation is that "it may just not be good for your brain not to have estrogen."

However, Vogel emphasized that it's important to keep the study results in perspective, noting the life-saving benefits of tamoxifen.

According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, "the benefits of tamoxifen as a treatment for breast cancer are firmly established and far outweigh the potential risks."

Said Vogel: "I'll take a little memory loss to keep my patients alive."

More information

The American Cancer Society has more on tamoxifen.

SOURCES: Christien Schilder, doctoral student, Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Victor Vogel, M.D., national vice president, research, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; Feb. 8, 2010, Journal of Clinical Oncology, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Drug May Ease Cognitive Effects of Huntingtons
2. Hypertension may predict dementia in older adults with certain cognitive deficits
3. HAPPYneuron Launches the First Online Professional Destination for Clinical Cognitive Training.
4. New compound improves cognitive decline, symptoms of Alzheimers disease in rodents
5. First Global, Virtual Summit on Cognitive Health and Performance Features 200 Sharp Brains
6. Expert Panel Reaches Consensus on Our Ability to Improve Cognitive Health
7. Study finds significantly worse outcomes in cancer patients with cognitive impairment
8. Caffeine doesnt reverse the negative cognitive impact of alcohol, study shows
9. Univalor and Cognitive Sensing Inc. to commercialize 4 University of Montreal discoveries
10. Alzheimer's Foundation of America Applauds Inclusion of Cognitive Impairment Detection in Healthcare Reform
11. Diet, Cognitive Ability May Play Role in Heart Disease
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, ... and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained ... Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... A recent article published ... unfamiliar with. The article goes on to state that individuals are now more comfortable ... less common operations such as calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 ... ... 12th International Conference and Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two ... Announcement of the grants came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of Topricin and ... that call for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 and then ... will restore the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor does not ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Vegas, Nevada (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 ... ... Las Vegas client, The Grove Investment Group (TGIG), has initiated cultivation and processing ... Grove, in Las Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada. , Puradigm is the manufacturer of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Bracket , a ... its next generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) ... on June 26 – 30, 2016 in Philadelphia ... electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment product of its kind to fully ... Bracket eCOA 6.0 is a flexible platform for ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  Astellas today announced the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a new affiliate with operations headquartered in ... . ... ... ... Astellas ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 The vast majority of ... dialysis facility.  Treatments are usually 3 times a week, ... visit, including travel time, equipment preparation and wait time. ... especially grueling for patients who are elderly and frail.  ... nursing and rehabilitation centers for some duration of time. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: