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Introduction: Cognitive impairment caused by chemotherapies, a condition known as chemobrain, is a possible side effect that affects alertness, learning, memory, and concentration.Areas covered: Chemobrain has been principally investigated as a possible side-effect among cancer patients. However, numerous drugs used to treat hematological malignancies can determine the appearance of chemobrain. In this review, we have examined some commonly used drugs for the treatment of hematological malignancies which are known to have a deleterious action on cognitive functions.Numerous mechanisms have been suggested, comprising the direct neurotoxicity of chemotherapeutic drugs, oxidative stress, genetic predisposition, cytokine-provoked damage, histone modifications, immune alteration, and the action of chemotherapeutic on trophic factors and structural proteins of brain cells.Expert commentary: Cognitive dysfunction provoked by the treatment of hematological diseases is an actual challenge in clinical practice. Actually, there are no totally efficient and innocuous treatments for this syndrome. It is important that further investigations specify the existence of predictors and gravity factors to pre- and post-therapy cognitive change and identify the influence of tumor treatments on the cognitive alterations in long-term, cancer survivors. Moreover, future studies are needed to analyze the interactions between genetic risk, amyloid accumulation, intrinsic brain networks, and chemotherapy.


Alessandro Allegra, Vanessa Innao, Giorgio Basile, Marta Pugliese, Andrea Gaetano Allegra, Nicolina Pulvirenti, Caterina Musolino. Post-chemotherapy cognitive impairment in hematological patients: current understanding of chemobrain in hematology. Expert review of hematology. 2020 Apr;13(4):393-404

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PMID: 32129131

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