Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 22, Issue 8, pp 2251–2260 | Cite as

Neuropsychological care and rehabilitation of cancer patients with chemobrain: strategies for evaluation and intervention development

  • Pascal Jean-PierreEmail author
  • Douglas Johnson-Greene
  • Thomas G. Burish
Original Article


Malignant tumors and their various treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormonal therapy can deleteriously affect a large number of cancer patients and survivors on multiple dimensions of psychosocial and neurocognitive functioning. Oncology researchers and clinicians are increasingly cognizant of the negative effects of cancer and its treatments on the brain and its mental processes and cognitive outcomes. Nevertheless, effective interventions to treat cancer and treatment-related neurocognitive dysfunction (CRND), also known as chemobrain, are still lacking. The paucity of data on effective treatments for CRND is due, at least partly, to difficulties understanding its etiology, and a lack of reliable methods for assessing its presence and severity. This paper provides an overview of the incidence, etiology, and magnitude of CRND, and discusses the plausible contributions of psychological, motor function, and linguistic and behavioral complications to CRND. Strategies for reliable neuropsychological screening and assessment, and development and testing of effective ways to mitigate CRND are also discussed.


Cancer and treatment-related neurocognitive dysfunction Chemobrain Cancer and memory problems Cognitive functioning Neuropsychological tests Chemotherapy Cancer and cognition Cognitive disorders Neoplasms Malignant tumors Mental performance 



Dr. Pascal Jean-Pierre acknowledges the support of the Walther Cancer Foundation, the Indiana University Clinical and Translational Science Institute (IU-CTSI), and the Harper Cancer Research Institute. This study was made possible in part by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Clinical and Translational Sciences Award Grant Number TR000163 (A. Shekhar, PI).

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare. The authors have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review their data if requested.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pascal Jean-Pierre
    • 1
    Email author
  • Douglas Johnson-Greene
    • 2
  • Thomas G. Burish
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Neurocognitive Translational Research Laboratory, Cancer Control and Survivorship ProgramUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA
  2. 2.Department of Rehabilitation MedicineUniversity of Miami School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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