Exercise and Cognitive (Brain) Function in Breast Cancer Patients Getting Chemotherapy After Breast Surgery

Official Title

Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Inflammatory Biomarkers, and Cognitive Function Patterns During Treatment for Breast Cancer: A Prospective Cohort Study


This study will primarily identify longitudinal associations between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and cognitive function pre- (baseline) to post-chemotherapy (~3 months). This will be a prospective study of 50 BCS. We hypothesize that breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy who have higher levels of CRF at baseline will have significantly improved measures of attention, executive function, and memory post-chemotherapy. In addition, the exploratory aims will examine the longitudinal associations between physical activity (PA) and cognitive function from pre- to post-chemotherapy and explore the associations between inflammatory and non-inflammatory biomarkers and CRF with cognitive function.

Trial Description

Primary Outcome:

  • Fluid Cognition (Composite)
Secondary Outcome:
  • Executive/Attention
  • Executive/Shifting
  • Working Memory
  • Episodic Memory
  • Language
  • Language
  • Processing Speed
  • Crystallized Cognition
  • Immediate Recall
  • Processing Speed
  • Objectively-assessed physical activity
  • Self-reported physical activity
  • Cancer biomarkers
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness
Cognitive impairments are reported as a chief quality of life (QoL) complaint by approximately 75% of breast cancer survivors (BCS). Women who have undergone adjuvant chemotherapy are at the highest risk for cognitive impairments, that may affect BCS up to 20 years post-treatment.Despite the prevalence and significance, it is largely underdiagnosed and there are no proven treatments beyond symptom management. Several studies have assessed cognitive function in cancer populations. Increasing evidence highlights the role of lifestyle behaviours on cancer-related outcomes, ranging from QoL to prognosis. However, very few studies have examined the associations of lifestyle factors and cognitive function in BCS.One of the most important mediators of CRCI in BCS may be cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF). Our overall objective is to examine the behavioural and biological mechanisms that contribute to cognitive decline in BCS undergoing chemotherapy using an epidemiologic, prospective cohort design. Assessments taken at baseline (pre-chemotherapy) and post-chemotherapy (month 3). Cognitive Function will be assessed using the NIH toolbox cognition battery. Physical Activity. PA will be assessed by accelerometers and through self-report using the Godin-Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire. Cardiorespiratory Fitness will be assessed using the 6-minute walk test to estimate maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max).Cancer Biomarkers will be assessed using venous blood (2 microtubes) will be drawn from the antecubital vein by a trained phlebotomist. Biological markers analyzed in blood will include a multiplex panel of inflammatory cytokines (i.e., IL1, IL6, TNFα), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Our proposed study will be instrumental in designing future targeted translational lifestyle interventions to improve cognitive health in BCS. In addition, understanding the trajectory of cognitive function as it relates to these factors will determine the opportune timeframe to intervene during the cancer care continuum for the greatest impact

View this trial on ClinicalTrials.gov

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