Among survivors of childhood cancer, those with Central Nervous System (CNS) malignancies have been found to be at greatest risk for neuropsychological dysfunction in the first few years following diagnosis and treatment. This study follows survivors to adulthood to assess the long term impact of childhood CNS malignancy and its treatment on neurocognitive functioning.
Participants & Methods
As part of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), 802 survivors of childhood CNS malignancy, 5937 survivors of non-CNS malignancy and 382 siblings without cancer completed a 25 item Neurocognitive Questionnaire (CCSS-NCQ) at least 16 years post cancer diagnosis assessing task efficiency, emotional regulation, organizational skills and memory. Neurocognitive functioning in survivors of CNS malignancy was compared to that of non-CNS malignancy survivors and a sibling cohort. Within the group of CNS malignancy survivors, multiple linear regression was used to assess the contribution of demographic, illness and treatment variables to reported neurocognitive functioning and the relationship of reported neurocognitive functioning to educational, employment and income status.
Survivors of CNS malignancy reported significantly greater neurocognitive impairment on all factors assessed by the CCSS-NCQ than non-CNS cancer survivors or siblings (p<.01), with mean T scores of CNS malignancy survivors substantially more impaired that those of the sibling cohort (p<.001), with a large effect size for Task Efficiency (1.16) and a medium effect size for Memory (.68). Within the CNS malignancy group, medical complications, including hearing deficits, paralysis and cerebrovascular incidents resulted in a greater likelihood of reported deficits on all of the CCSS-NCQ factors, with generally small effect sizes (.22-.50). Total brain irradiation predicted greater impairment on Task Efficiency and Memory (Effect sizes: .65 and .63, respectively), as did partial brain irradiation, with smaller effect sizes (.49 and .43, respectively). Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement was associated with small deficits on the same scales (Effect sizes: Task Efficiency .26, Memory .32). Female gender predicted a greater likelihood of impaired scores on 2 scales, with small effect sizes (Task Efficiency .38, Emotional Regulation .45), while diagnosis before age 2 years resulted in less likelihood of reported impairment on the Memory factor with a moderate effect size (.64). CNS malignancy survivors with more impaired CCSS-NCQ scores demonstrated significantly lower educational attainment (p<.01), less household income (p<.001) and less full time employment (p<.001).
Survivors of childhood CNS malignancy are at significant risk for impairment in neurocognitive functioning in adulthood, particularly if they have received cranial radiation, had a VP shunt placed, suffered a cerebrovascular incident or are left with hearing or motor impairments. Reported neurocognitive impairment adversely affected important adult outcomes, including education, employment, income and marital status.
Neurocognitive functioning; brain tumors; CNS malignancies; Childhood Cancer Survivor Study
Adult survivors of childhood cancer can have altered social functioning. We sought to identify factors that predict marriage and divorce outcomes in this growing population.
Retrospective cohort study of 8,928 ≥ five-year adult survivors of childhood malignancy and 2,879 random sibling controls participating in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Marital status, current health, psychological status, and neurocognitive functioning were determined from surveys and validated instruments.
Survivors were more likely to be never-married than siblings (relative risk (RR) = 1.21; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.15–1.26) and the U.S. population (RR=1.25; 95% CI= 1.21 – 1.29), after adjusting for age, gender, and race. Patients with central nervous system (CNS) tumors were at greatest risk for not marrying (RR=1.50; 95% CI= 1.41–1.59). Married survivors divorced at frequencies similar to controls. In multivariable regression analysis, non-marriage was most associated with cranial radiation (RR=1.15; 95% CI=1.02–1.31 for >2400 centigray). In analysis of neurobehavioral functioning, non-marriage was associated with worse task efficiency (RR=1.27; 95% CI=1.20–1.35), but not with emotional distress, or problems with emotional regulation, memory, or organization. Physical conditions predictive of non-marriage included short stature (RR=1.27; 95% CI=1.20–1.34) and poor physical function (RR=1.08; 95% CI=1.00–1.18). Structural equation modeling suggested that cranial radiation influenced marriage status through short stature, cognitive problems, and poor physical function.
Childhood cancer survivors married at lower frequencies compared to peers. Patients with CNS tumors, cranial radiation, impaired processing efficiency, and short stature were more likely to never marry. Divorce patterns in survivors were similar to peers.
Survivorship; Cancer; Predictors; Marriage; Divorce
Up to 40% of childhood cancer survivors may experience neurocognitive impairment in one or more specific domains. As such, regular monitoring has been recommended for patients exposed to cranial irradiation and/or antimetabolite chemotherapy. This study reports the results of a questionnaire developed to identify those survivors who may be experiencing neurocognitive problems.
Participants for this study were 7,121 members of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study cohort (6,739 survivors and 382 siblings). These participants completed a new neurocognitive questionnaire designed to assess functions commonly affected by cancer therapy, as well as a standard measure of emotional functioning. A measure of cognitive and emotional functioning was also completed on a subset of the patients roughly seven years prior to the current questionnaire. Responses to the questionnaires among subgroups of survivors were then analyzed to examine the reliability and validity of the new neurocognitive questionnaire.
Four reliable factors were identified that assessed task efficiency, emotional regulation, organization, and memory skills. These neurocognitive factors accurately discriminated between survivors who were at “high risk” for neurocognitive dysfunction, due to neurologic abnormalities or a history of intensive focal cranial irradiation, from healthy “low risk” survivors and siblings.
The questionnaire demonstrated excellent reliability, as well as construct and discriminative validity. It appears to be a practical and efficient tool for monitoring neurocognitive outcomes in adult survivors of pediatric cancer.
Regular monitoring of neurocognitive functioning is recommended for pediatric cancer survivors exposed to cranial irradiation and/or antimetabolite chemotherapy. The Childhood Cancer Survivor Study - Neurocognitive Questionnaire appears to be a practical and efficient tool for such monitoring.
Childhood Cancer Survivor Study; neurocognitive; questionnaire; late effects
Long-term survivors of childhood cancer are at risk for fatigue, sleep problems, and neurocognitive impairment, though the association between these outcomes has not been previously examined.
Outcomes were evaluated in 1426 survivors from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study using a validated Neurocognitive Questionnaire. Relative risks for neurocognitive impairment were calculated using demographic and treatment factors, and survivors’ report on the FACIT-Fatigue, the Short Form-36 Vitality Scale (SF-36-V), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS).
Neurocognitive impairment was identified in over 20% of survivors, using sibling-based norms for comparison. Multivariable logistic regression models revealed that fatigue (RR=1.34, 1.13–1.59), daytime sleepiness (RR=1.68, 1.55–1.83), poor sleep quality (RR=1.23, 1.01–1.49) and decreased vitality (RR=1.75, 95% CI 1.33–2.30) were all associated with impaired task efficiency. Likewise, fatigue (RR=1.77, 1.23–2.55), sleepiness (RR=1.38, 1.14–1.67) and decreased vitality (RR=3.08, 1.98–4.79) were predictive of emotional regulation problems. Diminished organization was associated with increased sleepiness (RR=1.80, 1.31–2.48) and decreased vitality (RR=1.90, 1.37–2.63). Impaired memory was associated with poor sleep quality (RR=1.45, 1.19–1.76), increased sleepiness (RR=2.05, 1.63–2.58), and decreased vitality (RR=2.01, 1.42–2.86). The impact of fatigue, sleepiness, sleep quality and vitality on neurocognitive outcomes was independent of the effects of cranial radiation therapy, steroids and antimetabolite chemotherapy, sex, and current age.
Neurocognitive function in long-term survivors of childhood cancer appears particularly vulnerable to the effects of fatigue and sleep disruption. These findings suggest sleep hygiene should be emphasized among survivors, as it may provide an additional mechanism for intervention to improve neurocognitive outcomes.
Childhood Cancer Survivor Study; CCSS; neurocognitive; sleep; fatigue; vitality
To identify risk factors for adverse psychological outcomes among adult siblings of long-term survivors of childhood cancer.
Cross-sectional, self-report data from 3,083 adult siblings (mean age 29 years, range 18-56 years) of 5+ year survivors of childhood cancer were analyzed to assess psychological outcomes as measured by the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18). Sociodemographic and health data, reported by both the siblings and their matched cancer survivors were explored as risk factors for adverse sibling psychological outcomes through multivariable logistic regression.
Self-reported symptoms of psychological distress, as measured by the global severity index of the BSI-18, were reported by 3.8% of the sibling sample. Less than 1.5% of siblings reported elevated scores on two or more of the subscales of the BSI-18. Risk factors for sibling depression included having a survivor brother (OR 2.22, 95% CI 1.42-3.55), and having a survivor with impaired general health (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.18-3.78). Siblings who were younger than the survivor reported increased global psychological distress (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.05-3.12), as did siblings of survivors reporting global psychological distress (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.08-4.59). Siblings of sarcoma survivors reported more somatization than did siblings of leukemia survivors (OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.05-3.98).
These findings suggest that siblings of long-term childhood cancer survivors are psychologically healthy in general. There are, however, small subgroups of siblings at risk for long-term psychological impairment who may benefit from preventive risk-reduction strategies during childhood while their sibling with cancer is undergoing treatment.
Adult survivors of childhood central nervous system (CNS) malignancies are at high risk for long-term morbidity and late mortality. However, patterns of late mortality, the long-term risks of subsequent neoplasms and debilitating medical conditions, and sociodemographic outcomes have not been comprehensively characterized for individual diagnostic and treatment groups.
We collected information on treatment, mortality, chronic medical conditions, and neurocognitive functioning of adult 5-year survivors of CNS malignancies diagnosed between 1970 and 1986 within the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Using competing risk framework, we calculated cumulative mortality according to cause of death and cumulative incidence of subsequent neoplasms according to exposure and dose of cranial radiation therapy (RT). Neurocognitive impairment and socioeconomic outcomes were assessed with respect to dose of CNS radiotherapy to specific brain regions. Cumulative incidence of chronic medical conditions was compared between survivors and siblings using Cox regression models. All tests of statistical significance were two-sided.
Among all eligible 5-year survivors (n = 2821), cumulative late mortality at 30 years was 25.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 23.4% to 28.3%), due primarily to recurrence and/or progression of primary disease. Patients who received cranial RT of 50 Gy or more (n = 813) had a cumulative incidence of a subsequent neoplasm within the CNS of 7.1% (95% CI = 4.5% to 9.6%) at 25 years from diagnosis compared with 1.0% (95% CI = 0% to 2.3%) for patients who had no RT. Survivors had higher risk than siblings of developing new endocrine, neurological, or sensory complications 5 or more years after diagnosis. Neurocognitive impairment was high and proportional to radiation dose for specific tumor types. There was a dose-dependent association between RT to the frontal and/or temporal lobes and lower rates of employment, and marriage.
Survivors of childhood CNS malignancies are at high risk for late mortality and for developing subsequent neoplasms and chronic medical conditions. Care providers should be informed of these risks so they can provide risk-directed care and develop screening guidelines.
Psychological or neurocognitive impairment is often seen in medulloblastoma survivors after craniospinal radiation; however, significant variability in outcomes exists. This study investigated the role of antioxidant enzyme polymorphisms in moderating this outcome and hypothesized that patients who had polymorphisms associated with lower antioxidant enzyme function would have a higher occurrence of impairment. From the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) cohort, 109 medulloblastoma survivors and 143 siblings were identified who completed the CCSS Neurocognitive Questionnaire (NCQ) and the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 (BSI-18) and who provided buccal DNA samples. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) allelic discrimination was used for SOD2 (rs4880), GPX1 (rs1050450), and GSTP1 (rs1695 and rs1138272) genotyping and PCR for GSTM1 and GSTT1 gene deletions. Outcomes on NCQ and BSI-18 subscale scores were examined in association with genotypes and clinical factors, including age at diagnosis, sex, and radiation dose, using univariate and multivariate analysis of variance. Patients <7 years of age at diagnosis displayed more problems with task efficiency (P < .001) and fewer problems with somatic complaints (P = .004) than did patients ≥7 years of age. Female patients reported more organization problems than did male patients (P = .02). Patients with homozygous GSTM1 gene deletion reported higher anxiety (mean null genotype = 47.3 ± 9.2, non-null = 43.9 ± 7.8; P = .04), more depression (null = 51.0 ± 9.8, non-null = 47.0 ± 9.4; P = .03), and more global distress (null = 50.2 ± 9.7, non-null = 45.2 ± 9.9; P = .01). All associations for the GSTM1 polymorphism remained statistically significant in a multivariate model controlling for age, sex, and radiation dose. Homozygous GSTM1 gene deletion was consistently associated with greater psychological distress in medulloblastoma survivors across multiple domains, suggesting that this genotype may predispose patients for increased emotional late effects.
Childhood Cancer Survivor Study; glutathione S-transferase polymorphisms; medulloblastoma; neuropsychological impairment; radiation therapy
Adult survivors of childhood cancer are at risk for long-term morbidities, which may be managed pharmacologically. Psychoactive medication treatment has been associated with adverse effects on specific neurocognitive processes in non-cancer populations, yet these associations have not been examined in adult survivors of childhood cancer.
Outcomes were evaluated in 7,080 adult survivors from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study using a validated self-report Neurocognitive Questionnaire. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for neurocognitive impairment using demographic and treatment factors and survivors’ report of prescription medication use.
Controlling for cranial radiation, pain, psychological distress, and stroke/seizure, use of antidepressant medications was associated with impaired task efficiency (OR=1.80, 95% CI=1.47–2.21), organization (OR=1.83, 95% CI=1.48–2.25), memory (OR=1.53, 95% CI=1.27–1.84) and emotional regulation (OR=2.06, 95% CI=1.70–2.51). Neuroleptics and stimulants were associated with impaired task efficiency (OR=2.46, 95% CI=1.29–4.69; OR=2.82, 95% CI=1.61–4.93, respectively) and memory (OR=2.08, 95% CI=1.13–3.82; OR=2.69, 95% CI=1.59–4.54, respectively). Anticonvulsants were associated with impaired task efficiency, memory and emotional regulation, although survivors who use these medications may be at risk for neurocognitive impairment on the basis of seizure disorder and/or underlying tumor location (CNS).
These findings suggest that specific psychoactive medications and/or mental health conditions may be associated with neurocognitive function in adult survivors of childhood cancer. The extent to which these associations are causal or indicative of underlying neurological impairment for which the medications are prescribed remains to be ascertained.
psychoactive medication; neurocognition; survivorship
Cranial radiotherapy (CRT) is a known risk factor for neurocognitive impairment in survivors of childhood cancer and may increase risk for mild cognitive impairment and dementia in adulthood.
We performed a cross-sectional evaluation of survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) treated with 18 Gy (n = 127) or 24 Gy (n = 138) CRT. Impairment (age-adjusted score >1 standard deviation below expected mean, two-sided exact binomial test) on the Wechsler Memory Scale IV (WMS-IV) was measured. A subset of survivors (n = 85) completed structural and functional neuroimaging.
Survivors who received 24 Gy, but not 18 Gy, CRT had impairment in immediate (impairment rate = 33.8%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 25.9% to 42.4%; P < .001) and delayed memory (impairment rate = 30.2%, 95% CI = 22.6% to 38.6%; P < .001). The mean score for long-term narrative memory among survivors who received 24 Gy CRT was equivalent to that for individuals older than 69 years. Impaired immediate memory was associated with smaller right (P = .02) and left (P = .008) temporal lobe volumes, and impaired delayed memory was associated with thinner parietal and frontal cortices. Lower hippocampal volumes and increased functional magnetic resonance imaging activation were observed with memory impairment. Reduced cognitive status (Brief Cognitive Status Exam from the WMS-IV) was identified after 24 Gy (18.5%, 95% CI = 12.4% to 26.1%; P < .001), but not 18 Gy (8.7%, 95% CI = 4.4% to 15.0%; P = .11), CRT, suggesting a dose–response effect. Employment rates were equivalent (63.8% for 24 Gy CRT and 63.0% for 18 Gy CRT).
Adult survivors who received 24 Gy CRT had reduced cognitive status and memory, with reduced integrity in neuroanatomical regions essential in memory formation, consistent with early onset mild cognitive impairment.
We examined whether survivors from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study were less likely to be in higher skill occupations than a sibling comparison and whether certain survivors were at higher risk.
We created three mutually-exclusive occupational categories for participants aged ≥25 years: Managerial/Professional and Non-Physical and Physical Service/Blue Collar. We examined currently employed survivors (N=4845) and siblings (N=1727) in multivariable generalized linear models to evaluate the likelihood of being in the three occupational categories. Among all participants, we used multinomial logistic regression to examine the likelihood of these outcomes in comparison to being unemployed (survivors N=6671; siblings N=2129). Multivariable linear models were used to assess survivor occupational differences by cancer and treatment variables. Personal income was compared by occupation.
Employed survivors were less often in higher skilled Managerial/Professional occupations (Relative Risk=0.93, 95% Confidence Interval 0.89–0.98) than siblings. Survivors who were Black, were diagnosed at a younger age, or had high-dose cranial radiation were less likely to hold Professional occupations than other survivors. In multinomial models, female survivors’ likelihood of being in full-time Professional occupations (27%) was lower than male survivors (42%) and female (41%) and male (50%) siblings. Survivors’ personal income was lower than siblings within each of the three occupational categories in models adjusted for sociodemographic variables.
Adult childhood cancer survivors are employed in lower skill jobs than siblings. Survivors with certain treatment histories are at higher risk and may require vocational assistance throughout adulthood.
Neoplasms; Occupations; Survivors; Socioeconomic Factors; Late Effects; Female
We examined the relationship of physical, mental, and neurocognitive function with employment and occupational status in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study.
We included survivors ≥25 years of age with available Short Form-36 (physical and mental health component scores), Brief Symptom Inventory (depression, anxiety and somatization), and Neurocognitive Questionnaire (task efficiency, emotional regulation, organization, and memory). We generated relative risks (RR) from generalized linear models for these measures on unemployment (N=5386) and occupation (N=3763) outcomes adjusted for demographic and cancer-related factors, and generated sex-stratified models.
Poor physical health was associated with an almost 8-fold higher risk of health-related unemployment (p<0.001) compared to survivors with normal physical health. Male survivors with somatization and memory problems were approximately 50% (p<0.05 for both) more likely to report this outcome, while task efficiency limitations was significant for both sexes (males: RR=2.43, p<0.001; females: RR=2.28, p<0.001). Employed female survivors with task efficiency, emotional regulation, and memory limitations were 13%-20% (p<0.05 for all) less likely to work in professional or managerial occupations than unaffected females.
Physical problems may cause much of the health-related unemployment among childhood cancer survivors. While both male and female survivors with neurocognitive deficits – primarily in task efficiencies – are at risk for unemployment, employed female survivors with neurocognitive deficits may face poor occupational outcomes more often than males.
Childhood cancer survivors are at risk for poor employment outcomes. Screening and intervention for physical, mental and neurocognitive limitations could improve employment outcomes for this population.
pediatric cancer; employment status; physical health; mental health; neurocognitive function
Childhood cancer survivors exposed to CNS irradiation are at increased risk for neurocognitive deficits; however, limited data exist linking outcomes with region-specific exposure to CNS irradiation. We report associations between region-specific radiation dose and self-reported neurocognitive and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes in 818 adult survivors of childhood central nervous system (CNS) malignancies from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Survivors were compared with a sibling group and national normative samples to calculate standardized scores. Cumulative radiation dose was calculated for 4 specific brain regions. Logistic regression was used to estimate the association between radiation dose to specific brain regions and outcome measures of functional impairment adjusted for clinical and demographic factors, including sex and age at diagnosis. High radiation dose levels to temporal regions were associated with a higher risk for memory impairment (radiation doses ≥30 to <50 Gy: OR, 1.95; 95% CI, 1.01–3.78; dose ≥50 Gy: OR, 2.34; 95% CI, 1.25–4.39) compared with those with no radiation exposure. No such association was seen with radiation exposure to other regions. Exposure to temporal regions was associated with more social and general health problems, whereas exposure to frontal regions was associated with general health problems and physical performance limitations. Adult survivors of childhood CNS malignancies report higher rates of neuropsychological and HRQOL outcomes, which vary as a function of dose to specific neuroanatomical regions. Survivors with a history of radiation exposure to temporal brain regions are at increased risk for impairment in memory and social functioning.
CNS malignancies; Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS); health-related quality of life; neuropsychological functioning; radiation therapy
Participation in physical activity is important for childhood cancer survivors because inactivity may compound cancer/treatment-related late-effects. However, some survivors may have difficulty participating physical activity and these individuals need to be identified so that risk-based guidelines for physical activity, tailored to specific needs, can be developed and implemented.
To document physical activity patterns in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) cohort, compare physical activity patterns to siblings in CCSS and a population based sample from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and evaluate associations between diagnosis, treatment, and personal factors and risk for inactive lifestyle.
Percentages of participation in recommended physical activity were compared among survivors, siblings and population norms. Generalized linear models were used to evaluate associations between cancer diagnosis and therapy, sociodemographics and risk for inactive lifestyle.
Participants included 9301 adult survivors of childhood cancer and 2886 siblings. Survivors were less likely than siblings (46% vs. 52%) to meet physical activity guidelines and more likely than siblings to report inactive lifestyle (23% vs. 14%). Medulloblastoma (35%) and osteosarcoma (27%) survivors reported highest levels of inactive lifestyle. Treatments with cranial radiation or amputation was associated with an inactive lifestyle as were female gender, black race, older age, lower educational attainment, underweight or obese status, smoking, and depression.
Childhood cancer survivors are less active than a sibling comparison group or an age and gender-matched population sample. Survivors at risk for inactive lifestyle should be considered high priority for developing and testing of intervention approaches.
Childhood Cancer; Physical Activity; Survivorship
Psychological quality of life (QOL), health-related QOL (HRQOL), and life satisfaction outcomes and their associated risk factors are reviewed for the large cohort of survivors and siblings in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS). This review includes previously published manuscripts that used CCSS data focused on psychological outcome measures, including the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI-18), the Medical Outcomes Survey Short Form-36 (SF-36), the Cantril Ladder of Life, and other self-report questionnaires. Comparisons and contrasts are made between siblings and survivors, and to normative data when available, in light of demographic/health information and abstracted data from the medical record. These studies demonstrate that a significant proportion of survivors report more symptoms of global distress and poorer physical, but not emotional, domains of HRQOL. Other than brain tumor survivors, most survivors report both good present and expected future life satisfaction. Risk factors for psychological distress and poor HRQOL are female sex, lower educational attainment, unmarried status, annual household income less than $20,000, unemployment, lack of health insurance, presence of a major medical condition, and treatment with cranial radiation and/or surgery. Cranial irradiation impacted neurocognitive outcomes, especially in brain tumor survivors. Psychological distress also predicted poor health behaviors, including smoking, alcohol use, fatigue, and altered sleep. Psychological distress and pain predicted use of complementary and alternative medicine. Overall, most survivors are psychologically healthy and report satisfaction with their lives. However, certain groups of childhood cancer survivors are at high risk for psychological distress, neurocognitive dysfunction, and poor HRQOL, especially in physical domains. These findings suggest targeting interventions for groups at highest risk for adverse outcomes and examining the positive growth that remains despite the trauma of childhood cancer.
To determine rates, patterns, and predictors of neurocognitive impairment in adults decades after treatment for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Patients and Methods
Survivors of childhood ALL treated at St Jude Children's Research Hospital who were still alive at 10 or more years after diagnosis and were age ≥ 18 years were recruited for neurocognitive testing. In all, 1,014 survivors were eligible, 738 (72.8%) agreed to participate, and 567 (76.8%) of these were evaluated. Mean age was 33 years; mean time since diagnosis was 26 years. Medical record abstraction was performed for data on doses of cranial radiation therapy (CRT) and cumulative chemotherapy. Multivariable modeling was conducted and glmulti package was used to select the best model with minimum Akaike information criterion.
Impairment rates across neurocognitive domains ranged from 28.6% to 58.9%, and those treated with chemotherapy only demonstrated increased impairment in all domains (all P values < .006). In survivors who received no CRT, dexamethasone was associated with impaired attention (relative risk [RR], 2.12; 95% CI, 1.11 to 4.03) and executive function (RR, 2.42; 95% CI, 1.20 to 4.91). The impact of CRT was dependent on young age at diagnosis for intelligence, academic, and memory functions. Risk for executive function problems increased with survival time in a CRT dose-dependent fashion. In all survivors, self-reported behavior problems increased by 5% (RR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.09) with each year from diagnosis. Impairment was associated with reduced educational attainment and unemployment.
This study demonstrates persistent and significant neurocognitive impairment in adult survivors of childhood ALL and warrants ongoing monitoring of brain health to facilitate successful adult development and to detect early onset of decline as survivors mature.
Adult survivors of childhood cancer and their siblings are compared on one of the most salient developmental milestones of adulthood, the ability to live independently.
Adult survivors of childhood cancers (n=6,047) and siblings (n=2,326), all 25 years of age and older, completed a long-term follow-up questionnaire that assessed adaptive, neurocognitive, and psychological functioning, as well as demographic and health status. Multivariable logistic regression analyses and structural equation modeling (SEM) were used to identify predictors of independent living.
Compared to siblings (n=206, 8.7%), survivors (n=1063; 17.7%) were more than twice as likely to live dependently (OR 2.07; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.77–2.42). Survivors diagnosed with CNS tumors (OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.10–0.18) or leukemia (OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.23–0.27) were significantly less likely to live independently compared to those diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma. Other risk factors for reduced independent living included cranial radiation (≤24Gy OR 0.76, 95% CI 0.62–0.93; >24Gy OR 0.31, 95% CI 0.24–0.41), use of neuroleptic, anticonvulsant, or psychostimulant medication (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.24–0.43), attention and processing speed problems (OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.47–0.71), poor physical functioning (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.38–0.63), depression (OR 0.68, 95% CI 0.53–0.88), and racial/ethnic minority status (OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.30–0.51). SEM demonstrated that neurocognitive functioning had both direct effects on independent living status, and indirect effects through use of neurologically-directed medication, depression, and poor mental health.
Adult survivors of childhood cancer who experience neurocognitive, psychological or physical late effects are less likely to live independently as adults.
Pediatric oncology; psychosocial; late effects; outcomes research
Advantages of computerized assessment of neuropsychological functions include improved standardization and increased reliability of response time variables. ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is a computerized battery developed for monitoring recovery following mild brain injuries that assesses attention, memory and processing speed. Despite evidence that core areas of deficit among cancer survivors are those assessed by ImPACT, it has not previously been used with this population.
Twenty four childhood brain tumor (BT) survivors treated with conformal radiation therapy (mean age= 15.7±1.6; mean age at irradiation= 9.8±2.5), twenty solid tumor (ST) survivors treated without CNS-directed therapy (mean age= 16.2±1.8) and twenty healthy siblings (mean age= 15.1± 1.6 years) were administered an age modified version of ImPACT. Additional computerized measures of working memory and recognition memory were administered.
Univariate ANOVAs revealed group differences (p< .05) on measures of recognition memory, spatial working memory, processing speed and reaction time, with BT survivors performing significantly worse than ST survivors and siblings. Pearson correlation coefficients revealed significant associations between ImPACT memory tasks and computerized forced choice recognition tasks (rs= .30-.33, p< .05). Multiple surgical resections, hydrocephalus and CSF shunt placement most consistently predicted worse ImPACT performance using linear mixed models (p< .05).
The ImPACT test battery demonstrated sensitivity to cognitive late effects experienced by some BT survivors with clinical predictors of performance consistent with the pediatric oncology literature. Correlations with measures of similar constructs provide evidence for convergent validity. Findings offer initial support for the utility of ImPACT for monitoring of cognitive late effects.
pediatric; cancer; ImPACT
Childhood cancer survivors are at-risk for late effects which may be managed pharmacologically. The purpose of this study was to estimate and compare the prevalence of psychoactive medication use of adult survivors of childhood cancer and sibling controls, identify predictors of medication use in survivors, and investigate associations between psychoactive medications and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
Psychoactive medication use from 1994 to 2010 was evaluated in 10,378 adult survivors from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. A randomly selected subset of 3,206 siblings served as a comparison group. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (OR) for baseline and new onset of self-reported psychoactive medication use and HRQOL.
Survivors were significantly more likely to report baseline (22% vs. 15%, p<0.001) and new onset (31% vs. 25%, p<0.001) psychoactive medication use compared to siblings, as well as use of multiple medications (p<0.001). In multivariable models, controlling for pain and psychological distress, female survivors were significantly more likely to report baseline and new onset use of antidepressants (OR=2.66; 95% CI=2.01–3.52; OR=2.02; 95% CI=1.72–2.38, respectively) and multiple medications (OR=1.80; 95% CI=1.48–2.19; OR=1.77; 95% CI=1.48–2.13, respectively). Non-cranial radiation and amputation predicted incident use of analgesics >15 years following diagnosis. Antidepressants were associated with impairment across all domains of HRQOL, with the exception of physical function.
Prevalence of psychoactive medication use was higher among survivors for most medication classes, as was the use of multiple medications. Clinicians should be aware of the possible contribution of psychoactive medications to HRQOL.
psychoactive medication; quality of life; survivorship
We examined the rate of increase in the body mass index (BMI; kg/m2) after final height attainment in survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and a noncancer comparison group.
Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) is a retrospectively ascertained cohort study that prospectively tracks the health status of adults who were diagnosed with childhood cancer between 1970 and 1986 and a comparison group of siblings. Changes in BMI from baseline enrollment to time of completion of follow-up (mean interval, 7.8 years) were calculated for 1,451 ALL survivors (mean age, 32.3 years at follow-up) and 2,167 siblings of childhood cancer survivors (mean age, 35.9 years).
The mean BMI of the CCSS sibling comparison group increased with age (women, 0.25 units/yr, 95% CI, 0.22 to 0.28 units; men, 0.23 units/yr, 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.25 units). Compared with CCSS siblings, ALL survivors who were treated with cranial radiation therapy (CRT) had a significantly greater increase in BMI (women, 0.41 units/yr, 95% CI, 0.37 to 0.45 units; men, 0.29 units/yr; 95% CI, 0.26 to 0.32 units). The rate of BMI increase was not significantly increased for ALL survivors who were treated with chemotherapy alone. Younger age at CRT exposure significantly modified risk.
CRT used in the treatment of childhood ALL is associated with a greater rate of increasing BMI, particularly among women treated with CRT during the first decade of life. Health care professionals should be aware of this risk and interventions to reduce or manage weight gain are essential in this high-risk population.
The primary objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have deficits in neurocognitive performance, and smaller white-matter volumes are associated with these deficits.
The patients studied included 112 ALL survivors (84 patients who had received chemotherapy only, 28 patients who had received chemotherapy and irradiation; 63 males, 49 females; mean age ± standard deviation, 4.1 yrs ± 2.6 yrs at diagnosis; mean ± standard deviation yrs since diagnosis, 6.0 ± 3.5 yrs), and 33 healthy siblings who participated as a control group. Neurocognitive tests of attention, intelligence, and academic achievement were performed; and magnetic resonance images were obtained and subsequently were segmented to yield tissue volume measurements. Comparisons of neurocognitive measures and tissue volumes between groups were performed, and the correlations between volumes and neurocognitive performance measures were assessed.
Most performance measures demonstrated statistically significant differences from the normative test scores, but only attention measures exceeded 1.0 standard deviation from normal. Patients who had received chemotherapy alone had significantly larger volumes of white matter than patients who had received treatment that also included cranial irradiation, but their volumes remained significantly smaller than the volumes in the control group. Smaller white-matter volumes were associated significantly with larger deficits in attention, intelligence, and academic achievement.
Survivors of childhood ALL had significant deficits in attention and smaller white-matter volumes that were associated directly with impaired neurocognitive performance. Cranial irradiation exacerbated these deficits.
acute lymphoblastic leukemia; magnetic resonance imaging; image analysis; neuropsychology; neurotoxicity; attention
Survivors of childhood cancer are at increased risk of developing subsequent neoplasms. In long term survivors of childhood malignancies treated with and without cranial radiation therapy (CRT), undergoing unenhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, we estimated detection of intracranial neoplasms.
To investigate neurocognitive outcomes, 219 survivors of childhood cancer underwent unenhanced screening MRI of the brain. 164 of the survivors had been treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) (125 received CRT), and 55 for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) (none received CRT). MRI examinations were reviewed and systematically coded by a single neuroradiologist. Demographic and treatment characteristics were compared for survivors with and without subsequent neoplasms.
Nineteen of the 219 survivors (8.7%) had a total of 31 subsequent intracranial neoplasms identified by neuroimaging at a median time of 25 years (range 12-46 years) from diagnosis. All neoplasms occurred after CRT, except for a single vestibular schwannoma within the cervical radiation field in a HL survivor. The prevalence of subsequent neoplasms after CRT exposure was 14.4% (18 of 125). By noncontrast MRI, intracranial neoplasms were most suggestive of meningiomas. Most patients presented with no specific, localizing neurological complaints. In addition to the schwannoma, six tumors were resected based on results of MRI screening, all of which were meningiomas on histologic review.
Unenhanced brain MRI of long-term survivors of childhood cancer detected a substantial number of intracranial neoplasms. Screening for early detection of intracranial neoplasms among aging survivors of childhood cancer who received CRT should be evaluated.
Implications for Cancer Survivors
The high prevalence of incidentally detected subsequent intracranial neoplasms after CRT in long-term survivors of childhood cancer and the minimal symptoms reported by those with intracranial tumors in our study indicate that brain MRI screening of long-term survivors who received CRT may be warranted. Prospective studies of such screening are needed.
Survivors of Childhood Cancer; Cranial Radiation Therapy; Subsequent Intracranial Neoplasms; Meningiomas
To assess the quality of life (QoL) and predictors thereof in Dutch adult hereditary and non-hereditary retinoblastoma (RB) survivors.
In this population-based cross-sectional study, a generic QoL questionnaire (SF-36) and a disease-specific interview were administered to 87 adult RB survivors aged 18 to 35 years. Their QoL data were compared with those of a Dutch healthy reference group. Among the RB hereditary/non-hereditary survivors, the QoL was compared and predictors for QoL were identified by linear multiple regression analyses.
As a group, RB survivors scored significantly lower than the reference group on the SF-36 subscale 'mental health' (t = -27, df = 86, p < 0.01). Hereditary RB survivors scored lower on the subscale 'general health' (t = 2.6, df = 85, p < 0.01) than non-hereditary RB survivors. Having experienced bullying, as a child was a predictor for the SF-36 subscales: 'physical functioning' (p < 0.05), 'role functioning physical' (p < 0.01), 'role functioning emotional' (p < 0.05) and 'social functioning' (p < 0.01). Having experienced bullying (p < 0.01), but also subjective experience of impairment related to RB (p < 0.05), was predictors for 'general health'. Subjective experience of impairment was a predictor for 'vitality' (p < 0.01) and 'bodily pain' (p < 0.01).
In this exploratory study, it appears that the group of adult RB survivors experience a relatively good overall but slightly decreased QoL compared with the reference group. However, they report more problems with regard to their mental health (anxiety, feelings of depression, and loss of control). Hereditary RB survivors differ significantly from non-hereditary RB survivors only in 'general health'. Bullying in childhood and subjective experience of impairment are the main predictors of a worse QoL. In order to prevent worsening of QoL, or perhaps to improve it, clinicians should make an inventory of these issues at an early stage. We recommend further research to assess the specific psychological factors that may lead to mental health problems in this population.
To determine risk factors associated with reduced adult height in survivors of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Cross-sectional study. Attained adult height was determined among 2,434 ALL survivors participating in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, a cohort of five-year survivors of common pediatric cancers diagnosed from 1970–1986, and compared with 3,009 siblings.
All survivor treatment exposure groups (chemotherapy alone, chemotherapy with cranial or craniospinal radiotherapy) had decreased adult heights and an increased risk of adult short stature (height standard deviation score < −2) compared with siblings (p<0.001). Compared with siblings, the risk of short stature for survivors treated with chemotherapy alone was elevated (OR 3.4, 95% CI 1.9, 6.0). Among survivors, significant risk factors for short stature included diagnosis of ALL prior to puberty, higher dose cranial radiotherapy (≥20 Gy versus <20 Gy), any radiotherapy to the spine, and female sex.
Survivors of childhood ALL are at increased risk of adult short stature, including those treated with chemotherapy alone. Risk is highest for those treated with cranial and craniospinal radiotherapy at a young age.
chemotherapy; epidemiology; growth deficiency; late effects; radiation; survivorship
Investigations examining psychosocial adjustment among childhood cancer survivors have focused primarily on negative effects and psychopathology. Emergent literature suggests the existence of positive impact or adjustment experienced after cancer, as well. The purpose of this study is to examine the distribution of Perceived Positive Impact (PPI) and its correlates in young adult survivors of childhood cancer.
6,425 survivors and 360 siblings completed a comprehensive health survey, inclusive of a modified version of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI) as a measure of PPI. Linear regression models were used to examine demographic, disease and treatment characteristics associated with PPI.
Survivors were significantly more likely than siblings to report PPI. Endorsement of PPI was significantly greater among female and non-white survivors, and among survivors exposed to at least one intense therapy, a second malignancy or cancer recurrence. Survivors diagnosed at older ages and fewer years since diagnosis were more likely to report PPI. Income, education and marital/relationship status appeared to have varied relationships to PPI depending upon the subscale being evaluated.
The existence and variability of PPI in survivors in this study suggest that individual characteristics, inclusive of race, gender, cancer type, intensity of treatment, age at diagnosis and time since diagnosis, have unique and specific associations with different aspects of perceived positive outcomes of childhood cancer.
Psychosocial; childhood cancer; trauma; event centrality; survivors
Previous research from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) has shown that risk of skin cancer is strongly associated with exposure to radiation therapy. The potential role of ultraviolet radiation exposure in survivors has not been described.
The CCSS is a retrospective cohort study designed to investigate late effects among 5-year survivors of children and adolescents diagnosed with cancer between 1970–1986. Data regarding current sun protection behavior were collected on 9,298 survivors and 2,950 sibling controls. Median age at follow-up was 31 years (range: 17–54).
In this cohort, childhood cancer survivors and siblings showed similar patterns of sunscreen use (67% vs. 66%). Survivors were significantly less likely to report having sunbathed in the previous year (none vs. any in previous year: RR=0.92, 95%CI=0.89–0.95) or use artificial tanning (none vs. any in previous year: RR=0.76, 95%CI=0.70–0.83). Compared to survivors without radiation therapy, survivors with radiation exposure showed increased use of sunscreen (RR=1.06, 95%CI=1.03–1.10), and less sunbathing (none vs. any in previous year; RR=0.89, 95%CI=0.86–0.92) or artificial tanning (none vs. any in previous year; RR=0.62, 95%CI=0.56–0.69). In adjusted multivariable analysis, statistically significant factors for regular sunscreen use in the past summer (vs. never/rarely) in the survivor population were being female, having lighter skin complexions, having previously been examined for skin cancer, and having skin that burned when in the sun unprotected.
Survivors of childhood cancer self-reported lower tanning practices than siblings. However, because of the potential increased risk of skin cancer from therapy-related exposures, future research should be directed at intervention studies to further reduce UV exposures.
Skin cancer; sun protection behaviors; survivor; radiation; siblings