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NHL Survivors Tend to Have Impaired Cognition

Cancer; ePub 2017 Sep 15; Ehrhardt, et al

Adults who survive childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) tend to experience impaired neurocognitive function that leads to lower social attainment and poor health-related life quality, according to a study involving 368 individuals. Investigators assessed neurocognitive ability, emotional distress, and health-related life quality in patients aged >18 years who survived NHL (n=187). Scores were compared with community controls (n=181) and population norms. Among the results:

  • Survivors were an average of ~25 years from their diagnosis.
  • 8 in every 10 received intrathecal chemotherapy; others received cranial radiation, high-dose methotrexate, or high-dose cytarabine.
  • Intelligence and attention levels of survivors were normal.
  • However, their memory, executive function, processing speed, and academics were impaired compared to population norms and controls.
  • Treatment-related exposures were not linked with neurocognitive function.
  • However, neurocognitive impairment was linked with lower educational attainment, unemployment, and occupational status.
  • Slower processing speed and worse self-reported executive function were linked with depression symptoms and worse health-related life quality.


Ehrhardt M, Mulrooney D, Li C, et al. Neurocognitive, psychosocial, and quality-of-life outcomes in adult survivors of childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma. [Published online ahead of print September 15, 2017]. Cancer. doi:10.1002/cncr.31019.