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First study on long-term cognitive effects of breast cancer chemotherapy finds subtle impairment among women who received CMF regimen
Date:2/27/2012

In this news digest:

  1. Summary of a study being published online February 27, 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showing that women who underwent a once-common chemotherapy regimen known as CMF between 1976 and 1995 score slightly lower on cognitive tests that measure word learning, memory and information processing speed than women without a history of cancer.

  2. While CMF is no longer the standard of care for breast cancer, there are many breast cancer survivors alive today who received this regimen 20 or more years ago and who may be experiencing such cognitive difficulties.

  3. Quote for attribution to Sylvia Adams, MD, American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer Communications Committee member

  4. Links to additional information on Cancer.Net, ASCO's patient website

Dutch investigators have reported that women who received CMF chemotherapy (a combination regimen including the drugs cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and 5-fluorouracil) for breast cancer between 1976 and 1995 scored worse on cognitive tests than women who never had cancer. The differences in performance were subtle but statistically significant, and occurred mainly in word learning, memory and information processing speed. The findings published February 27 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology indicate that cognitive problems, which are known to occur shortly after treatment, may also be observed 20 years after treatment.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study to suggest that subtle cognitive deficits may be among the long-term effects of chemotherapy, especially of the earlier regimens," said one of the senior authors Sanne B. Schagen, PhD, a Group Leader at the Department of Psychosocial Research and Epidemiology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital in Amsterdam. "Our findings do not suggest that breast cancer survivors treated with CMF chemotherapy need to be monitore
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Contact: Nicole Fernandes
nicole.fernandes@asco.org
571-483-1354
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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