Self-reported cognitive functioning in postmenopausal breast cancer patients before and during endocrine treatment: findings from the neuropsychological TEAM side-study

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Objective:This study aimed to evaluate self-reported cognitive functioning of postmenopausal breast cancer patients before and during endocrine treatment compared with healthy female controls, and to investigate associations between self-reported cognitive functioning, cognitive test performance and anxiety/depression, fatigue, and menopausal complaints.Methods:Self-reported cognitive functioning, anxiety/depression, fatigue, menopausal complaints, and cognitive tests performance were assessed before (T1) and after 1 year (T2) of adjuvant endocrine treatment in postmenopausal chemotherapy-naïve breast cancer patients. Self-reported cognitive functioning was assessed by the cognitive failures questionnaire and interview questions concerning cognitive complaints. Patients participated in the TEAM-trial, a prospective randomized study investigating tamoxifen versus exemestane as adjuvant therapy for hormone-sensitive breast cancer. Identical information was obtained from healthy postmenopausal volunteers.Results:Two measures for self-reported cognitive functioning provided the distinctive results. At T1 and T2, healthy controls reported a higher frequency of cognitivefailuresthan patients; change over time did not differ between groups. The prevalence of cognitivecomplaintsdid not differ between the groups at T1, but change over time regarding attention/concentration complaints differed between groups, due to an increased prevalence in tamoxifen users. Self-reported cognitive functioning showed moderate associations with anxiety/depression, fatigue, and menopausal complaints. Cognitive test performance was not associated with self-reported cognitive functioning, but weakly with anxiety/depression and fatigue.Conclusion:Adjuvant therapy with tamoxifen and exemestane did not influence the self-reported frequency of cognitive failures. Increased attention/concentration complaints were observed in tamoxifen users, but not in exemestane users. This latter finding should be confirmed with better validated instruments.

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