Late effects of adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer on fine motor function

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Abstract

Background:

Adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer has been associated with deterioration of fine motor skill. Which aspects of motor performance are underlying this problem is unclear but important because manual motor deterioration could affect quality of life. The current study aims to investigate late effects of adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer on fine motor function, using both speed and accuracy measures.

Method:

We compared fine motor function of 174 women who had received adjuvant Cyclophosphamide Methotrexate 5-Fluorouracil chemotherapy for breast cancer on average 20 years ago with that of a population sample of 195 women without a history of cancer. Fine motor function was measured with the Purdue Pegboard Test and the Archimedes spiral test.

Results:

The group of chemotherapy-exposed breast cancer survivors was slower in drawing an Archimedes spiral than the reference group. Furthermore, in the chemotherapy-exposed subjects, we found that older age is related to more crossings of the spiral template, more return movements, and more deviations from the template. Such relationships were not observed within the reference group. No significant between-group differences were found for any of the Purdue Pegboard measures.

Conclusions:

Compared with a population-based reference group, Cyclophosphamide Methotrexate 5-Fluorouracil chemotherapy-exposed breast cancer survivors demonstrated motor slowing while drawing an Archimedes spiral, on average 20 years after completion of primary treatment. Furthermore, the Archimedes spiral test is a more sensitive measure than the Purdue Pegboard Test to assess fine manual motor performance in long-term breast cancer survivors following chemotherapy. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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