UCLA Study: Breast Cancer Treatment Could Impact Cognition

A new study by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles shows that some cancer patients may experience cognitive decline after chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

It is generally believed that cancer treatments can accelerate the biological aging of cells. This new UCLA study specifically shows that common cancer therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiation, may be related to DNA damage and lower telomerase activity, with telomeres being the enzymes that contribute to the maintenance of cancer. cell health. This is especially true compared to women who have been operated on but have no other treatment for their cancer.

UCLA researchers interviewed 94 breast cancer survivors aged 36 to 69, all of whom had undergone breast cancer treatment for three to six years, including chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The researchers also examined the DNA lesions and telomerase activity of the participants, and then compared these findings to the cognitive function of the participants in order to draw conclusions from the study.

"Together, this research provides preliminary evidence that cancer treatments can leave a lasting imprint on some people," said Judith Carroll, lead author of the study, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Biological Behavior Sciences and a member of the Jonsson Cancer Research Center of UCLA. "We hope future research will target these biological aging pathways to prevent the cognitive decline experienced by some cancer survivors."

This study builds on an earlier study by the same researchers at UCLA – and including the same 94 breast cancer survivors – that examined the relationship between breast cancer treatments and cellular markers of aging.

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