Assessing cognitive function in adults during or following chemotherapy: a scoping review



The purpose of this scoping review was to determine the feasibility of conducting a systematic review of approaches for screening or assessing cognitive function that were comprehensive and that could be incorporated into clinical settings.


Using the scoping review approach developed by Arksey and O’Malley, we searched Ovid Embase 1980-, Ovid PsycINFO 1806-, Ovid Health and Psychosocial Instruments 1985-, EBSCOhost CINAHL, ISI Web of Science (Science Citation Index 1900-), Social Sciences Citation Index 1900-, Conference Proceedings Citation Index -Science 1990-, Conference Proceedings Citation Index -Social Science & Humanities 1990-, Scopus 1960-, with no language restrictions. Searches were conducted in April 2009 and updated in February 2013. Studies of adults treated with chemotherapy that included at least seven of the eight domains of cognition were included.


Eleven studies met inclusion criteria. No screening tools suitable for inclusion in a clinic were identified. The studies reviewed varied by inclusion/exclusion criteria, design, and instruments for assessing cognitive function, and thus, there are not yet enough studies to warrant a systematic review on this topic.

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Funding for this study was received from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta. Scott Fielding assisted with the initial design of the project.

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Correspondence to Karin Olson.

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Conflict of interest

Karin Olson is employed by the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta, who was also one of the funders of this study. None of the other authors has financial relationships with the funders this research. Our research team is in full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review it if requested.

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Olson, K., Hewit, J., Slater, L.G. et al. Assessing cognitive function in adults during or following chemotherapy: a scoping review. Support Care Cancer 24, 3223–3234 (2016).

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  • Cognitive function
  • Neurocognitive testing
  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy