BACKGROUND. The late neurotoxic effects of bone marrow transplantation (BMT) on cognitive functioning and quality of life (QOL) were investigated in a consecutively treated cohort of long-term adult survivors. METHODS. Progression-free patients treated with BMT or peripheral stem cell grafts for a hematologic malignancy at least 2 years before study participation were examined with a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests and questionnaires for QOL and mood states. The results of the neuropsychological tests were compared with healthy population norms. RESULTS. Forty patients were included, 87.5% of whom had undergone an allogeneic transplantation. All received total body irradiation up to 12 Gy (in two fractions). Assessment took place 22-82 months after BMT. Mild to moderate cognitive impairment was found in 24 patients (60%). Compared with healthy population norms, selective attention and executive function, information processing speed, verbal learning, and verbal and visual memory were most likely to be affected. The mean score for the total patient group revealed that these patients scored significantly lower on the information processing speed task compared with expected scores obtained from the normal population. The main predictors for poor neuropsychological performance were fatigue, global health, and educational level. Other correlations with moderate to severe cognitive impairment were subjective cognitive complaints, physical functioning, social functioning, overall mood states, and employment status. CONCLUSIONS. These data indicate that BMT may lead to cognitive complaints and late cognitive deficits in long-term adult survivors. Cognitive functioning should therefore be used as an outcome parameter in BMT studies.

Bone marrow transplantation, Cognition, Neurologic complications, Neuropsychological dysfunctions, Quality of life,
Department of Psychiatry

Harder, H, Cornelissen, J.J, van Gool, A.R, Duivenvoorden, H.J, Eijkenboom, W.M.H, & van den Bent, M.J. (2002). Cognitive functioning and quality of life in long-term adult survivors of bone marrow transplantation. Cancer, 95(1), 183–192. doi:10.1002/cncr.10627