Skip to main content
An official website of the United States government
Grant Details

Grant Number: 5R01CA218496-05 Interpret this number
Primary Investigator: Ahles, Tim
Organization: Sloan-Kettering Inst Can Research
Project Title: Assessment of Sensory Gating, Attention, and Executive Control in Breast Cancer
Fiscal Year: 2022


ABSTRACT Despite significant progress in understanding cancer and cancer-treatment associated cognitive dysfunction (CACD), concerns have been raised about the adequacy of traditional neuropsychological tests to accurately detect cognitive changes reported by patients. Memory deficits are the most commonly reported cognitive problems among survivors; however, assessment with traditional neuropsychological measures of memory has frequently demonstrated performance in the normal range. We propose that changes in attentional processes interfere with efficient and effective encoding of information in memory. Therefore, survivors’ perception of memory problems is accurate, but related to deficits in attention rather than memory. Traditional neuropsychological measures: 1) Can have low test-retest reliability over clinically relevant timeframes leading to large measurement error; 2) Focus on coarsely defined domains of cognitive function while ignoring the subcomponents of attention critical for later recall; 3) Are unable to measure pre-attentive processes like sensory gating / filtering; and 4) Do not correlate with self-report of cognitive problems. To address these limitations, we have developed a battery of well-studied and validated cognitive experimental measures, the Sensory-Attention-Executive (SAE) battery, which will allow for decomposition of sensory, attentional and executive sub-processes that underlie efficient learning and encoding of information. We will examine cognitive changes associated with adjuvant treatment for postmenopausal breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy (CT+: N=100) and not treated with chemotherapy (CT-: N=100), who will be assessed prior to adjuvant treatment, 1 month post-chemotherapy (yoked for CT- patients) and 12 and 24 months post- enrollment with the SAE battery and traditional neuropsychological measures. Matched healthy controls (N=100) will be assessed over similar timeframes. The objective of this proposal is to evaluate the following specific aims: Aim 1: Examine alterations in subcomponents of attention and executive control using the SAE battery at pretreatment and over time in CT+ and CT- compared to matched, healthy controls; Aim 2: Examine the prevalence of impairment at pretreatment and over time utilizing the SAE battery versus traditional neuropsychological measures in CT+ and CT- compared to matched, healthy controls; Aim 3: Examine the relationship of measures of pre-attentive processing to later, performance-based measures of attention and memory from the SAE and traditional batteries; and Aim 4: Examine associations between self-report measures (Sensory Gating Inventory and FACT-Cog) and performance on the SAE battery and traditional neuropsychological measures. This research is significant because use of the SAE measures could more precisely identify subcomponents of cognitive processes associated with CACD leading to tailored treatments and is innovative because it utilizes assessments base on cognitive neuroscience allowing for assessment of subcomponent cognitive processes along the information processing chain, including pre-attentive processes.


Plasma levels of interleukin-6 mediate neurocognitive performance in older breast cancer survivors: The Thinking and Living With Cancer study.
Authors: Mandelblatt J.S. , Small B.J. , Zhou X. , Nakamura Z.M. , Cohen H.J. , Ahles T.A. , Ahn J. , Bethea T.N. , Extermann M. , Graham D. , et al. .
Source: Cancer, 2023-08-01; 129(15), p. 2409-2421.
EPub date: 2023-04-25.
PMID: 37096888
Related Citations

Genetic Variants Associated with Longitudinal Cognitive Performance in Older Breast Cancer Patients and Controls.
Authors: Nudelman K. , Nho K. , Zhang M. , McDonald B.C. , Zhai W. , Small B.J. , Wegel C.E. , Jacobsen P.B. , Jim H.S.L. , Patel S.K. , et al. .
Source: Cancers, 2023-05-23; 15(11), .
EPub date: 2023-05-23.
PMID: 37296840
Related Citations

A phase II single-arm trial of memantine for prevention of cognitive decline during chemotherapy in patients with early breast cancer: Feasibility, tolerability, acceptability, and preliminary effects.
Authors: Nakamura Z.M. , Deal A.M. , Park E.M. , Stanton K.E. , Lopez Y.E. , Quillen L.J. , O'Hare Kelly E. , Heiling H.M. , Nyrop K.A. , Ray E.M. , et al. .
Source: Cancer medicine, 2023 Apr; 12(7), p. 8172-8183.
EPub date: 2023-01-16.
PMID: 36645168
Related Citations

Pre-Treatment Breast Cancer Patients Show Neural Differences in Frontal Alpha Asymmetry.
Authors: Prashad N. , Melara R.D. , Root J.C. , Ahles T.A. .
Source: Clinical EEG and neuroscience, 2023 Mar; 54(2), p. 189-197.
EPub date: 2022-02-04.
PMID: 35118900
Related Citations

The effect of visual target presence and age on antisaccade performance.
Authors: Edelman J.A. , Ahles T.A. , Prashad N. , Fernbach M. , Li Y. , Melara R.D. , Root J.C. .
Source: Journal of neurophysiology, 2023-02-01; 129(2), p. 307-319.
EPub date: 2022-12-28.
PMID: 36576265
Related Citations

Longitudinal Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment on Neural Correlates of Attention.
Authors: Melara R.D. , Ahles T.A. , Prashad N. , Fernbach M. , Edelman J.A. , Root J. .
Source: Archives of clinical neuropsychology : the official journal of the National Academy of Neuropsychologists, 2023-01-21; 38(1), p. 12-24.
PMID: 35901461
Related Citations

Association of markers of tumor aggressivity and cognition in women with breast cancer before adjuvant treatment: The Thinking and Living with Cancer Study.
Authors: Root J.C. , Zhou X. , Ahn J. , Small B.J. , Zhai W. , Bethea T. , Carroll J.E. , Cohen H.J. , Dilawari A. , Extermann M. , et al. .
Source: Breast cancer research and treatment, 2022 Jul; 194(2), p. 413-422.
EPub date: 2022-05-19.
PMID: 35587324
Related Citations

Cognitive Function in Older Adults With Cancer: Assessment, Management, and Research Opportunities.
Authors: Magnuson A. , Ahles T. , Chen B.T. , Mandelblatt J. , Janelsins M.C. .
Source: Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2021-07-01; 39(19), p. 2138-2149.
EPub date: 2021-05-27.
PMID: 34043437
Related Citations

Sensory Filtering and Sensory Memory in Breast Cancer Survivors.
Authors: Melara R.D. , Root J.C. , Bibi R. , Ahles T.A. .
Source: Clinical EEG and neuroscience, 2021 Jul; 52(4), p. 246-253.
EPub date: 2020-11-10.
PMID: 33167713
Related Citations

Prospective evaluation of functional brain activity and oxidative damage in breast cancer: changes in task-induced deactivation during a working memory task.
Authors: Root J.C. , Pergolizzi D. , Pan H. , Orlow I. , Passik S.D. , Silbersweig D. , Stern E. , Ahles T.A. .
Source: Brain imaging and behavior, 2021 Jun; 15(3), p. 1364-1373.
PMID: 32710338
Related Citations

Strategies to Prevent or Remediate Cancer and Treatment-Related Aging.
Authors: Guida J.L. , Agurs-Collins T. , Ahles T.A. , Campisi J. , Dale W. , Demark-Wahnefried W. , Dietrich J. , Fuldner R. , Gallicchio L. , Green P.A. , et al. .
Source: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2021-02-01; 113(2), p. 112-122.
PMID: 32348501
Related Citations

Back to Top