Smaller regional volumes of brain gray and white matter demonstrated in breat cancer survivors exposed to adjuvant chemotherapy

Masatoshi Inagaki, Eisho Yoshikawa, Yutaka Matsuoka, Yuriko Sugawara, Tomohito Nakano, Tatsuo Akechi, Noriaki Wada, Shigeru Imoto, Koji Murakami, Yosuke Uchitomi, Makoto Kobayakawa, Nobuya Akizuki, Maiko Fujimori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

265 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND. Previous studies have shown cognitive impairment in breast cancer survivors who were exposed to adjuvant chemotherapy. Neural damage by chemotherapy might have played some part in these findings. The current study explored the regional brain volume difference between breast cancer survivors exposed to adjuvant chemotherapy (C+) and those unexposed (C-). METHODS. High-resolution 1.5-tesla brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) databases of breast cancer survivors and healthy controls were used. Brain images were preprocessed for optimal voxel-based morphometry. Comparisons of gray matter and white matter were performed between the C+ and the C- groups, by using MRI scans from within 1 year (the 1-year study, n = 51 and n = 55, respectively) or 3 years after their cancer surgery (the 3-year study, n = 73 and n = 59, respectively). As exploratory analyses, correlation analyses were performed between indices of the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised and regional brain volume where the volumes were significantly smaller. As a reference, MRI scans of cancer survivors were compared with those of healthy controls (n = 55 for the 1-year study and n = 37 for the 3-year study). RESULTS. The C+ patients had smaller gray matter and white matter including prefrontal, parahippocampal, and cingulate gyrus, and precuneus in the 1-year study. However, no difference was observed in the 3-year study. The volumes of the prefrontal, parahippocampal gyrus, and precuneus were significantly correlated with indices of attention/concentration and/or visual memory. Comparisons with healthy controls did not show any significant differences. CONCLUSIONS. Adjuvant chemotherapy might have an influence on brain structure, which may account for previously observed cognitive impairments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-156
Number of pages11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Adjuvant chemotherapy
  • Breast cancer
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Regional brain volume
  • Voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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