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Cancer-related cognitive impairment and wellbeing in patients with newly diagnosed aggressive lymphoma compared to population norms and healthy controls: an exploratory study

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posted on 2024-04-11, 00:48 authored by P Gates, HM Dhillon, M Krishnasamy, Carlene WilsonCarlene Wilson, K Gough
Purpose: There has been little dedicated research on cancer-related cognitive impairment in patients with aggressive lymphoma. We describe and compare patients’ cognitive function with that of healthy controls and patients’ wellbeing and distress with general population values. We also explore associations between patients’ neuropsychological test performance and self-reported cognitive function and distress. Methods: Secondary analysis of data from a feasibility study of 30 patients with newly diagnosed aggressive lymphoma and 72 healthy controls. Patients completed neuropsychological tests and self-report measures before and 6–8 weeks after chemotherapy. Healthy controls completed neuropsychological tests and the FACT-Cog at enrolment and 6 months later. Mixed models were used to analyze neuropsychological test and FACT-Cog scores. One-sample t-tests were used to compare patients’ self-reported wellbeing and distress with population norms. Associations were explored with Kendall’s Tau b. Results: Patients and healthy controls were well matched on socio-demographics. Differences between neuropsychological test scores were mostly large-sized; on average, patients’ scores on measures of information processing speed, executive function, and learning and memory were worse both before and after chemotherapy (all p ≤ 0.003). The same pattern was observed for impact of perceived cognitive impairment on quality-of-life (both p < 0.001). Patients’ physical and emotional wellbeing scores were lower than population norms both before and after chemotherapy (all p ≤ 0.018). Associations between neuropsychological performance and other measures were mostly trivial (all p > 0.10). Conclusion: For many patients with aggressive lymphoma, impaired neuropsychological test performance and impact of perceived impairments on quality-of-life precede chemotherapy and are sustained after chemotherapy. Findings support the need for large-scale longitudinal studies with this population to better understand targets for interventions to address cognitive impairments.


This study was supported by a PhD scholarship provided to PG by the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre Supportive Care Research PhD scholarship through the Victorian Cancer Agency.


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Supportive Care in Cancer





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Springer Nature



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