Are Survivors of Childhood Lymphomas At Increased Risk of Cognitive Impairment?

Researchers from the Yale Cancer Center report that the systemic therapies received by survivors of childhood cancers may impact their long-term cognitive outcomes, with negative effects on education, employment, and income.

These findings, which were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, suggest that survivors of pediatric non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Hodgkin lymphoma are among those at increased risk of cognitive impairment. The researchers examined data from previous studies dating back to 1990 that investigated long-term (>2 years off therapy and/or 5 years from diagnosis) cognitive outcomes in survivors of extracranial solid tumors and lymphomas who were diagnosed before age 21.

“Given the older age at diagnosis of many childhood extracranial solid tumors and lymphomas as well as toxicities associated with certain therapies, we concluded patients may benefit from vocational services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and/or hearing or visual rehabilitation in addition to surveillance for cognitive difficulties,” said senior author Nina Kadan-Lottick, MD, MSPH, associate professor of pediatrics and disease aligned research team leader for pediatric cancer at Yale Cancer Center. “However, larger prospective studies are needed that better delineate the severity of cognitive impairment, contributory risk factors, and effective interventions to reduce impairment.”

Sources: Yale Cancer Center press release, April 22, 2021; Foster R, Zheng DJ, Netson-Amore KL, et al. Cognitive impairment in survivors of pediatric extracranial solid tumors and lymphomas. J Clin Oncol. [published online ahead of print, 2021 Apr 22.] doi: 10.1200/JCO.20.02358