Breast Cancer Cognitive Rehabilitation Study

Patricia Ganz, MD, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Linca Ercoli, PhD, Steven Castellon, PhD, and Andrew Leuchter, MD, UCLA Semel Institute
Study abstract

There is an emerging body of data supporting the existence of cognitive difficulties associated with cancer treatments. The mechanisms responsible for the development of these difficulties are multi-factorial and may potentially be related to direct treatment toxicity, but are also associated with other factors including stress, hormonal and immune exposures, and even predisposing cognitive impairments. While work is underway in our laboratory and in other groups to understand the biological mechanisms associated with the risk of cognitive complaints after breast cancer treatments, there are a substantial number of women who have persistent difficulties with memory, concentration, multi-tasking and other activities, such that rehabilitative interventions need to be developed to help them recover and adjust to these post-treatment difficulties. To the best of our knowledge, there has been only one research group that has developed such a program, and this focused on individual treatment. As part of our BCRF funded research program, we are conducting a randomized, wait-list control, Phase II trial that will evaluate the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a specially designed cognitive rehabilitation intervention for breast cancer survivors. Sixty breast cancer survivors who have cognitive complaints and have completed their primary cancer treatment (i.e., surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy; 18 months to 5 years ago) will be enrolled and randomized into the intervention group or to a wait-list control group. Participants will complete questionnaires, have two QEEG procedures before and after the 5-week intervention, complete neuro-cognitive testing once before and two times after the 5-week intervention.

Study review

This study at the University of California, Los Angeles is evaluating the effectiveness of a rehabilitation group intervention program for breast cancer survivors who are experiencing memory loss and concentration problems associated with cancer treatments. The researchers wanted to enroll 60 breast cancer survivors in the study. The Call to Action for this study was sent to Army of Women members on March 21, 2012. When the research team closed enrollment on July 3, 2013, the Army of Women had provided them with 109 women who were interested in enrolling in the study.

Resulting Publications: