Warren Taylor
Last active: 3/3/2020

Nicotinic treatment of post-chemotherapy subjective cognitive impairment: a pilot study.

Vega JN, Albert KM, Mayer IA, Taylor WD, Newhouse PA
J Cancer Surviv. 2019 13 (5): 673-686

PMID: 31338732 · PMCID: PMC6993088 · DOI:10.1007/s11764-019-00786-6

PURPOSE - Persistent chemotherapy-related cognitive impairment (pCRCI) is commonly reported following cancer treatment and negatively affects quality of life; however, there is currently no pharmacological treatment indicated for pCRCI. This pilot study obtained preliminary data regarding the use of transdermal nicotine patches as a therapeutic strategy for women with pCRCI to (1) reduce subjective cognitive complaints and (2) enhance objective cognitive performance in breast, colon, lymphoma, or ovarian cancer survivors with pCRCI.

METHODS - Participants were randomized to either placebo (n = 11) or transdermal nicotine (n = 11) for 6 weeks, followed by 2 weeks of treatment withdrawal for a total of 8 weeks. Participants were assessed using both subjective and objective measures of cognitive functioning at five visits before, during, and after treatment.

RESULTS - Over the course of the study, women in both groups improved substantially in severity of self-reported cognitive complaints measured by Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Cognitive Function Perceived Cognitive Impairments regardless of treatment arm. Additionally, objective cognitive performance measures improved in both groups; however, there was no significant difference in improvement between groups.

CONCLUSIONS - Due to a large placebo response, we were unable to determine if a drug effect was present. However, we did observe substantial improvement in self-reported cognitive symptoms, likely resulting from factors related to participation in the trial rather than specific drug treatment effects.

TRIAL REGISTRATION - The study was registered with clinicaltrials.gov (trial registration: NCT02312943).

IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS - These results suggest that women with pCRCI can exhibit improvement in subjective cognition, with attention paid to symptoms and close follow-up over a short period of time.

MeSH Terms (18)

Adult Aged Aged, 80 and over Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols Cancer Survivors Cognition Cognitive Dysfunction Female Humans Male Middle Aged Neoplasms Nicotine Pilot Projects Quality of Life Self Report Survivors Transdermal Patch

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