UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Impact of Cognitive Impairment on Treatment Toxicity, Treatment Completion, and Survival among Older Adults Receiving Chemotherapy: A Systematic Review Sattar, Schroder; Haase, Kristen; Tejero, Isabel; Bradley, Cara; Mariano, Caroline; Kilgour, Heather; Verma, Ridhi; Amir, Eitan; Alibhai, Shabbir


Cognitive impairment (CI) is common among older adults with cancer, but its effect on cancer outcomes is not known. This systematic review sought to identify research investigating clinical endpoints (toxicity risk, treatment completion, and survival) of chemotherapy treatment in those with baseline CI. A systematic search of five databases (inception to March 2021) was conducted. Eligible studies included randomized trials, prospective studies, and retrospective studies in which the sample or a subgroup were older adults (aged ≥ 65) screened positive for CI prior to receiving chemotherapy. Risk of bias assessment was performed using the Quality in Prognosis Studies (QUIPS) tool. Twenty-three articles were included. Sample sizes ranged from n = 31 to 703. There was heterogeneity of cancer sites, screening tools and cut-offs used to ascertain CI, and proportion of patients with CI within study samples. Severity of CI and corresponding proportion of each level within study samples were unclear in all but one study. Among studies investigating CI in a qualified multivariable model, statistically significant findings were found in 4/6 studies on survival and in 1/1 study on nonhematological toxicity. The lack of robust evidence indicates a need for further research on the role of CI in predicting survival, treatment completion, and toxicity among older adults receiving chemotherapy, and the potential implications that could shape treatment decisions.

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