The relationship of APOE genotype to neuropsychological performance in long-term cancer survivors treated with standard dose chemotherapy

Tim A. Ahles, Andrew J. Saykin, Walter W. Noll, Charlotte T. Furstenberg, Stephen Guerin, Bernard Cole, Leila A. Mott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

213 Scopus citations


Purpose: The primary purpose of this study was to compare the neuropsychological performance of long-term survivors of breast cancer and lymphoma treated with standard dose chemotherapy who carried the ε4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene to those who carry other APOE alleles. Patients and methods: Long-term survivors (mean = 8.8 ± 4.3 years post-treatment) of breast cancer (N = 51, age = 55.9 ± 8.8) or lymphoma (N = 29, age = 55.8 ± 11.6) who had been treated with standard-dose chemotherapy completed a standardized battery of neuropsychological and psychological tests. Survivors were also classified into two groups based on the presence (N = 17) or absence (N = 63) of at least one ε4 allele of APOE. Results: Analysis of covariance, controlling for age, gender, education, diagnosis, and WRAT-3 reading subtest (a proxy measure of baseline IQ), indicated that survivors with at least one ε4 allele scored significantly lower in the visual memory (p < 0.03) and the spatial ability (p < 0.05) domains and tended to score lower in the psychomotor functioning (p < 0.08) domain as compared to survivors who did not carry an ε4 allele. No group differences were found on depression, anxiety, or fatigue. Conclusions: The results of this study provide preliminary support for the hypothesis that the ε4 allele of APOE may be a potential genetic marker for increased vulnerability to chemotherapy-induced cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)612-619
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this