Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate longitudinal changes in brain gray matter density (GMD) before and after adjuvant chemotherapy in older women with breast cancer. Methods: We recruited 16 women aged ≥ 60 years with stage I–III breast cancers receiving adjuvant chemotherapy (CT) and 15 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HC). The CT group underwent brain MRI and the NIH Toolbox for Cognition testing prior to adjuvant chemotherapy (time point 1, TP1) and within 1 month after chemotherapy (time point 2, TP2). The HC group underwent the same assessments at matched intervals. GMD was evaluated with the voxel-based morphometry. Results: The mean age was 67 years in the CT group and 68.5 years in the HC group. There was significant GMD reduction within the chemotherapy group from TP1 to TP2. Compared to the HC group, the CT group displayed statistically significantly greater GMD reductions from TP1 to TP2 in the brain regions involving the left anterior cingulate gyrus, right insula, and left middle temporal gyrus (pFWE(family-wise error)-corrected < 0.05). The baseline GMD in left insula was positively correlated with the baseline list-sorting working memory score in the HC group (pFWE-corrected < 0.05). No correlation was observed for the changes in GMD with the changes in cognitive testing scores from TP1 to TP2 (pFWE-corrected < 0.05). Conclusions: Our findings indicate that GMD reductions were associated with adjuvant chemotherapy in older women with breast cancer. Future studies are needed to understand the clinical significance of the neuroimaging findings. This study is registered on ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01992432).
- Breast cancer
- Gray matter density (GMD)
- Voxel-based morphometry (VBM)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research