Cognitive impairment after chemotherapy related to atypical network architecture for executive control

Jay F. Piccirillo, Frances Mei Hardin, Joyce Nicklaus, Dorina Kallogjeri, Michael Wilson, Cynthia X. Ma, Rebecca S. Coalson, Joshua Shimony, Bradley L. Schlaggar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objectives: A common complaint of cancer patients is the experience of cognitive difficulty during and after chemotherapy. We hypothesized that cognitive impairment may result from dysfunction in large-scale brain networks, particularly those involved in attentional control. Methods: Using a case-control design, this study includes women with a history of invasive ductal or lobular triple-negative breast cancer who completed standard adjuvant chemotherapy within 2 years of study entry. Women who reported cognitive impairment by the Global Rating of Cognition question were considered to be cases (n = 15). Women who reported no cognitive impairment were considered to be controls (n = 13). All enrolled participants were eligible for MRI investigation and underwent resting-state functional connectivity MRI. Results: Women who self-reported cognitive impairment were found to have disrupted resting-state functional connectivity, as measured by MRI, when compared to women who did not self-report cognitive impairment. These findings suggest that some women may be more sensitive to the standard treatments for breast cancer and that this increased sensitivity may result in functional connectivity alterations in the brain networks supporting attention and executive function. Conclusions: Neuroimaging analyses confirmed self-reported cognitive deficits in women with breast cancer treated with chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-368
Number of pages9
JournalOncology (Switzerland)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cognitive disorders
  • Complications
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Neuroimaging


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