Emerging pharmacotherapy for cancer patients with cognitive dysfunction

Justin Davis, Fiona M. Ahlberg, Michael Berk, David M. Ashley, Mustafa Khasraw

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Advances in the diagnosis and multi-modality treatment of cancer have increased survival rates for many cancer types leading to an increasing load of long-term sequelae of therapy, including that of cognitive dysfunction. The cytotoxic nature of chemotherapeutic agents may also reduce neurogenesis, a key component of the physiology of memory and cognition, with ramifications for the patient's mood and other cognition disorders. Similarly radiotherapy employed as a therapeutic or prophylactic tool in the treatment of primary or metastatic disease may significantly affect cognition. A number of emerging pharmacotherapies are under investigation for the treatment of cognitive dysfunction experienced by cancer patients. Recent data from clinical trials is reviewed involving the stimulants modafinil and methylphenidate, mood stabiliser lithium, anti-Alzheimer's drugs memantine and donepezil, as well as other agents which are currently being explored within dementia, animal, and cell culture models to evaluate their use in treating cognitive dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number153
JournalBMC Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Pharmacotherapy

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