Navigation Links
Common Chemotherapy Drug Linked to Memory Problems
Date:4/21/2008

'Chemo brain' a routine side effect of treatment with drug 5-fluorouracil, study says

MONDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with a single, commonly used chemotherapy drug causes memory problems and other cognitive difficulties, a common and unpleasant side effect called "chemo brain," a new study found.

Up to 50 percent of women with breast cancer reported having cognitive problems a year after chemotherapy treatment ended, according to one previous study.

Now, researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York and Harvard Medical School say they've discovered how the chemotherapy drug 5-fluorouracil -- or 5-FU -- affects the central nervous system even long after treatment ends. The hope is this discovery will lead to ways to decrease or eliminate the damage so cognitive functioning is preserved.

"What we found is the damage done short-term is much less than the damage that occurs long-term," said Mark Noble, senior author of the study published in the April 22 issue of the Journal of Biology. "After the drug is stopped, the cellular damage gets worse."

For years, experts questioned whether chemo brain was a result of chemotherapy or having cancer itself, said Noble, director of the University of Rochester Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Institute. "Could they be depressed? Was it really organic damage?" he said, listing some of the suggested possible causes.

"What our studies do is demonstrate [that] it is the chemo," he said. And, the damage can occur with treatment with the single drug, not only the "cocktails" of drugs often used to treat cancer.

In a previous study, Nobel and his colleagues demonstrated that three common chemotherapy drugs were more toxic to healthy brain cells than to the cancer cells they were meant to treat. These studies were among the first to establish a biological basis for chemo brain. But the research didn't explain why the cognitive ill effects persist in some patients.

For the new study, Noble and his colleagues exposed cell lines in a laboratory and in mice to doses of 5-FU, and then evaluated the drug's effects. The drug is used to treat malignancies of the breast, ovaries, stomach, colon and other sites.

The researchers found that 5-FU damaged specific kinds of cells in the central nervous system -- immature cells known as progenitor cells, which later differentiate into specialized cells.

Also damaged were cells called oligodendrocytes, which help produce myelin, the fatty substance that coats nerve cells and facilitates communication between cells.

"The damage at eight weeks was considerably greater than one day after treatment," Noble said. "Damage at six months was even greater than at six weeks."

The finding "means that there is a real physiological basis for the symptoms of 'chemobrain,'" said Dr. Christina A. Meyers, chief of the department of neuro-oncology at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, who wrote an accompanying comment. "Until we know enough to develop targeted treatments for it, there is still lots to do about it [and better to have it than the alternative]." Among the remedies are relaxation training to focus attention, exercise, cognitive rehabilitation and medicine such as anti-inflammatory agents, she said.

Another cancer expert praised the study.

"This is a very good animal model," said Dr. Patricia Ganz, director of cancer prevention and control at the University of California, Los Angeles Jonsson Cancer Center.

But she added a caveat: "This does not mean that everybody receiving this drug will have damage to their brain," she said. And, she added, this is the effect of just one chemotherapy drug, 5-FU. Today, 5FU is "rarely used in breast cancer treatment," she said.

Noble hopes to focus next on why the damage continues. Eventually, his research may lead to a treatment that can be given to decrease or eliminate the harm to healthy cells, he said.

More information

To learn more about chemo brain, visit American Cancer Society.



SOURCES: Mark Noble, Ph.D., director, University of Rochester Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Institute, Rochester, N.Y.; Patricia Ganz, M.D., director, cancer prevention and control research, University of California, Los Angeles, Jonsson Cancer Center; Christina A. Meyers, Ph.D., professor and chief, department of neuro-oncology, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; April 21, 2008, Journal of Biology


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. UK junior doctors gaining less experience of common procedures
2. New insights into common knee injuries
3. High and mighty: first common height gene identified by researchers behind obesity gene finding
4. Figure Skater Peggy Fleming, HealthSaver Says: Take Pains For Back Strains, 2nd Most Common Doctor Complaint
5. Exelixis Commences Public Offering of Common Stock
6. Common misdiagnosis: most women believe they have a yeast infection when they dont
7. Business Executives Discuss National Health Care Reform at Conference Sponsored by The Century Foundation, with Support from The Commonwealth Fund, and AARP
8. New Expert Report Dispels Common Myths About Aspartame
9. Common Foot Myths Trip Us Up
10. AHPC Holdings, Inc. Announces Intent to Deregister Common Stock With Securities and Exchange
11. Allergy-Induced Asthma More Common in Affluent Countries
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... ... its innovative EcoQube Frame vertical micro-veggies garden on Kickstarter . Surpassing the ... product – with nearly 2,000 consumers (and counting) already backing the campaign. ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... County, NY (PRWEB) , ... March 24, 2017 , ... ... Somers and White Plains, N.Y., is pleased to announce Westchester resident Lauren C. Enea ... a law clerk for the firm, will concentrate her practice in elder law, Medicaid ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , ... March 24, 2017 , ... ... first Certified Medical Reiki™ Master in Frederick, MD. Judy says, “I am passionate ... during what is often a very difficult and challenging time.” , A Certified ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... “The Communion of ... people of God in congregations across the United States. “The Communion of ... in 1964 who has served congregations in seven states throughout his long career ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... The physicians of KSF Orthopaedic Center PA ... Area. The new location is located at 2255 E. Mossy Oaks Rd., Suite 440, ... newest location will provide patients living in the north Houston area (The Woodlands, Conroe, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... , Mar. 24, 2017 Research ... Management in the U.S.: Consumer Strategies" report to their ... ... how adults approach and treat their physical pain, emphasizing consumer ... distinct groups: pain sufferers and adults who have selected illnesses/conditions ...
(Date:3/24/2017)...   The Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs ... the pharmaceutical industry has appointed Dr. Jane ... formed scientific advisory board. Dr. Chin will be ... ever medical affairs think tank within the pharmaceutical ... ACMA, please visit  www.medicalaffairsspecialist.org .  Connect with ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... FinancialBuzz.com News Commentary  ... According to new data published Arcview ... legal cannabis market is projected to continue to grow at ... the current presidential administration. The report created by Arcview,s data ... growth in this industry are the passage and subsequent implementation ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: