Neuropsychological effects of treatments for adults with cancer: A meta-analysis and review of the literature
A meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate possible neuropsychological effects of treatments for cancer in adults. A search revealed 30 studies, encompassing 29 eligible samples, and leading to inclusion of a total of 838 patients and control participants. A total of 173 effect sizes (Cohen's d) were extracted across 7 cognitive domains and as assessed in the literature via 3 methods of comparison (post-treatment compared with normative data, controls, or baseline performance). Statistically significant negative effect sizes were found consistently across both normative and control methods of comparison for executive function, verbal memory, and motor function. The largest effects were for executive function and verbal memory normative comparisons (−.93 and −.91, respectively). When limiting the sample of studies in the analyses to only those with relatively “less severe” diagnoses and treatments, the effects remained. While these results point toward some specific cognitive effects of systemic cancer therapies in general, no clear clinical implications can yet be drawn from these results. More research is needed to clarify which treatments may produce cognitive decrements, the size of those effects, and their duration, while ruling out a wide variety of possible mediating or moderating variables. (JINS, 2003, 9, 967–982.)(Received April 2 2002)
(Revised January 16 2003)
(Accepted January 17 2003)
Key Words: Meta-analysis; Cancer; Chemotherapy; Executive function; Verbal memory; Motor function.
c1 Reprint requests to: C. Anderson-Hanley, Department of Psychology, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. E-mail: email@example.com