Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 171, Issue 1, pp 189–198 | Cite as

Associations of dietary intake and supplement use with post-therapy cognitive recovery in breast cancer survivors

  • Zhezhou Huang
  • Yan ShiEmail author
  • Pingping Bao
  • Hui Cai
  • Zhen Hong
  • Ding Ding
  • James Jackson
  • Xiao-Ou Shu
  • Qi Dai



Cognitive impairment induced by cancer therapy is common and can be long lasting after completion of therapy. Little is known on factors that influence recovery from the impairment. We evaluated the associations of dietary intake and supplement use with post-therapy cognitive recovery in a large cohort of breast cancer survivors.


This study included 1047 breast cancer patients aged 20–75 who were recruited to the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study between 2002 and 2006 at approximately 6.5 months post-cancer diagnosis. Two cognitive assessments covering immediate memory, delayed memory, verbal fluency, and attention, were conducted at 18 and 36 months post-diagnosis. We used food frequency questionnaire to collect information on their dietary intake and supplement use between 18 and 36 months post-diagnosis. Linear regression models were used to examine the associations of dietary intake and supplement use with mean cognitive scores at 36 months post-diagnosis and with differences in cognitive scores between 18 and 36 months post-diagnosis.


Higher vegetable, fruit and fish intake, supplementation with vitamin B and vitamin E, and tea drinking were associated with higher cognitive scores, while alcohol drinking was associated with lower cognitive scores at 36 months post-diagnosis. Vegetable intake was positively associated with improvement in verbal fluency, while tea drinking and fish oil supplementation were associated with greater improvements in delayed memory between 18 and 36 months post-diagnosis.


Our results indicate that higher vegetable intake, tea drinking, and fish oil supplementation may help post-therapy cognitive recovery for cancer patients.


Breast cancer survivor Cognition Diet Supplement 



The authors thank the patients and the investigators who participated in this study. This work was supported by the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning (20164Y0027 to Zhezhou Huang; 15GWZK0801 to Zhezhou Huang, PI: Fan Wu), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81402734 to Pingping Bao), the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (DAMD 17-02-1-0607 to Xiao-Ou Shu), and the National Cancer Institute (R01 CA118229 to Xiao-Ou Shu).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Non-communicable Disease and InjuryShanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and PreventionShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Division of Epidemiology, Department of MedicineVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyHuashan Hospital, Fudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine, Department of MedicineVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA

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