Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 20, Issue 7, pp 1361–1375

An evaluation on the neuropsychological tests used in the assessment of postchemotherapy cognitive changes in breast cancer survivors

  • Yin Ting Cheung
  • Earl Hsien-Jie Tan
  • Alexandre Chan
Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00520-012-1445-4

Cite this article as:
Cheung, Y.T., Tan, E.H. & Chan, A. Support Care Cancer (2012) 20: 1361. doi:10.1007/s00520-012-1445-4



The choice of appropriate neuropsychological tests is important in evaluating the onset, severity, duration, and site of cognitive changes in postchemotherapy breast cancer survivors. This literature review is designed to evaluate and provide a summary of suitable neuropsychological tests to determine cognitive changes in breast cancer survivors.


A literature search restricted to publications in English before June 2011 was performed using the following combination of keywords: “neuropsychological assessments,” “breast cancer,” “chemotherapy,” and “cognitive impairment.” Only observational studies that performed cognitive assessments on breast cancer survivors were included. The neuropsychological assessments were grouped as “objective” (traditional batteries and screening tests), “subjective,” or “computerized.”


Of the 43 studies extracted, memory (88 %) and attention/concentration (88 %) are the two most commonly assessed domains. A majority (63 %) employed the use of Wechsler Adult Intelligent Scale (an objective test), while only 49 % incorporated subjective assessments to assess perceived cognitive impairment. Computerized tests received low popularity (28 %) despite their numerous advantages, which include overcoming the language- and cultural-dependent limitations of traditional objective tests.


In the selection of a suitable neuropsychological tool to determine the onset, severity, site, and duration of cognitive changes in breast cancer survivors, incorporation of both subjective and objective tests is essential to facilitate a comprehensive assessment. With more validation work performed in future studies, it may be feasible to employ computerized neuropsychological assessments in both clinical and research settings.


OncologyCancerChemotherapyCognitive functionNeuropsychological

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yin Ting Cheung
    • 1
  • Earl Hsien-Jie Tan
    • 1
  • Alexandre Chan
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PharmacyNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of PharmacyNational Cancer Centre SingaporeSingaporeSingapore