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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.
Drugs absorbed poorly through the skin are commonly delivered via injection with a hypodermic needle, which is painful and increases the risk of transmitting infectious diseases. Microneedles (MNs) selectively and painlessly permeabilize the outermost skin layer, allowing otherwise skin-impermeable drugs to cross the skin through micron-sized pores and reach therapeutic concentrations. However, rapid healing of the micropores prevents further drug delivery, blunting the clinical utility of this unique transdermal technique. We present the first human study demonstrating that micropore lifetime can be extended following MN treatment. Subjects received one-time MN treatment and daily topical application of diclofenac sodium. Micropore closure was measured with impedance spectroscopy, and area under the admittance-time curve (AUC) was calculated. AUC was significantly higher at MN+diclofenac sodium sites vs. placebo, suggesting slower rates of micropore healing. Colorimetry measurements confirmed the absence of local erythema and irritation. This mechanistic human proof-of-concept study demonstrates that micropore lifetime can be prolonged with simple topical administration of a non-specific cyclooxygenase inhibitor, suggesting the involvement of subclinical inflammation in micropore healing. These results will allow for longer patch wear time with MN-enhanced delivery, thus increasing patient compliance and expanding the transdermal field to a wider variety of clinical conditions.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.