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Catechol-O-Methyltransferase Gene Polymorphisms and the Risk of Chemotherapy-Induced Prospective Memory Impairment in Breast Cancer Patients with Varying Tumor Hormonal Receptor Expression

Wen Li, Jingjing Zhao, Ke Ding, Herta H. Chao, Chiang-Shan R. Li, Huaidong Cheng, Li Shen

Cancer Hospital, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, Anhui, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e923567

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.923567

Available online: 2020-09-25

Published: 2020-09-28

BACKGROUND: Existing research evidence indicates that breast cancer patients have different degrees of cognitive dysfunction after chemotherapy, and polymorphisms in 3 genes (catechol-O-methyltransferase, COMT; apolipoprotein E, APOE; and brain-derived neurotrophic factor, BDNF) have been associated with cognitive impairment. However, the role of these 3 gene polymorphisms in modulating cognitive impairment in breast cancer survivors with varying hormonal receptor expression is not clear at present.
To explore the effects of genetic polymorphisms in BDNF, APOE, and COMT on the regulation of prospective memory impairments induced by chemotherapy in breast cancer patients with various expression levels of estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR).
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A total of 232 patients with breast cancer (113 with ER-/PR- and 119 with ER+/PR+) were evaluated before and after chemotherapy for cognitive function, including prospective memory. Following previously published sequencing procedures, we assessed 6 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), including BDNF (rs6265), APOE (rs429358, rs7412), and COMT (rs165599, rs4680, rs737865).
RESULTS: The patients showed poorer prospective memory scores after chemotherapy than before chemotherapy. Furthermore, the ER-/PR- group showed poorer event-based prospective memory (EBPM) scores than the ER+/PR+ group (z=-7.831, p<0.01) after chemotherapy. The patients with the COMT rs737865G/G genotype, compared with those with the A/A and A/G genotypes, showed a linear EBPM performance (ß=1.499, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.017~2.211) and were less likely to have memory impairment. In contrast, APOE and BDNF polymorphisms did not influence cognitive performance.
CONCLUSIONS: The patterns of hormonal receptor expression may be related to prospective memory impairments induced by chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. Furthermore, the COMT polymorphism (rs737865) was linearly related to the extent of deficits in EBPM and may represent a potential genetic marker of risk for cognitive deficits triggered by chemotherapy in patients with breast cancer.

Keywords: Breast Neoplasms, Male, Chemotherapy, Adjuvant, Cognitive Therapy, Polymorphism, Genetic