A pilot study: Application of hemoglobin and cortisol levels and a memory test to evaluate the quality of life of breast cancer patients on chemotherapy

Tjing Yung Wings LOO, Chi Wing Michael YIP, Wing Cheong Louis CHOW, Qing LIU, Lam Yan Elizabeth NG, Min WANG, Jianping CHEN

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Abstract

Background: Short-term memory (STM) decline in breast cancer patients resulting from chemotherapy was evaluated by means of blood biomarkers, a questionnaire, and a computerized STM test. Methods: This study was conducted from January 2013 to June 2013, recruiting 90 subjects: 30 breast cancer patients beginning the 3rd of 4th cycles of docetaxel and cyclophosphamide chemotherapy, 30 recovered patients (who completed 4 cycles of docetaxel for a minimum of 6 months), and 30 healthy subjects (disease-free females). The levels of hemoglobin, red and white blood cells, and cortisol in serum, and a computerized STM test were analyzed to estimate the effects of chemotherapy on STM. A questionnaire was given to all subjects to assess quality of life. Results: Statistically significant differences were observed for the blood parameters (hemoglobin, red and white blood cells, and cortisol levels) between healthy and on-treatment subjects (respectively 13.47±0.96 g/dL vs 5.37±0.38 g/dL, 4.58±0.41 10¹²/L vs 2.07±0.13 10¹²/L, and 6.15±1.03 10⁹/L vs 0.86±0.41 10⁹/L). Scores of the STM test were significantly lower for patients compared to healthy subjects. As indicated by the results of the questionnaire, breast cancer patients had a higher tendency to forget than healthy controls (X²=3.15; p<0.0001) and recovered subjects (X²=3.15; p<0.0001). Conclusion: We found depleted levels of hemoglobin, red and white blood cells as a result of chemotherapy, and elevated levels of stress correlated with poor performances in the computerized STM test. A higher cortisol level might be an important precursor of STM deterioration. Monitoring cortisol would be beneficial for evaluating the quality of life of breast cancer patients on chemotherapy. Copyright © 2013 Wichtig Publishing - Milano (Italy).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-356
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Markers
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

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Chemotherapy
Short-Term Memory
Hydrocortisone
Hemoglobins
Quality of Life
Breast Neoplasms
Data storage equipment
Drug Therapy
docetaxel
Blood
Leukocytes
Erythrocytes
Cells
Healthy Volunteers
Biomarkers
Cyclophosphamide
Italy
Deterioration
Monitoring
Serum

Citation

Loo, W. T. Y., Yip, M. C. W., Chow, L. W. C., Liu, Q., Ng, E. L. Y., Wang, M., et la. (2013). A pilot study: Application of hemoglobin and cortisol levels and a memory test to evaluate the quality of life of breast cancer patients on chemotherapy. International Journal of Biological Markers, 28(4), 348-356.