Integrating imaging findings in evaluating the post-chemotherapy brain
Cognitive complaints following cancer and cancer therapy are common. Many studies have investigated the effects of chemotherapy on the brain. However, the mechanisms for the associated cognitive impairment are not well understood. Some studies have also included brain imaging to investigate potential neurological substrates of cognitive changes. This review examines recent neuroimaging studies on cancer- and chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction in non-central nervous system cancers and compares findings across imaging modalities. Grey matter volume reductions and decreases in white matter integrity are seen after exposure to adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer, and functional studies have illuminated both hypo- and hyperactivations in many of the same regions months to years following therapy. These comparisons can assist in further characterizing the dysfunction reported by patients and contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved.