Study designs of evaluations included in the review
No inclusion criteria for study design were specified.
Specific interventions included in the review
Studies of chemotherapy were eligible for inclusion. The chemotherapy regimens included were: cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil (CMF); cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and 5-fluorouracil (CAF); doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide; cyclophosphamide, epirubicin and 5-fluorouracil; 5-fluorouracil, epidoxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (FEC); FEC plus cyclophosphamide, thiotepa and carboplatin; and CMF plus CAF.
Some participants received tamoxifen. Of those who had previously received chemotherapy, 205 had received standard-dose chemotherapy and 34 had received high-dose chemotherapy.
Participants included in the review
Studies of women with breast cancer were eligible for inclusion. The participants included in the review were either breast cancer survivors who had completed chemotherapy 6.5 to 10 years previously, or women currently receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer. Most of the studies included control participants, some of whom were women with breast cancer who had only received surgery or radiotherapy, and some of whom were healthy women. The mean age of all participants ranged from approximately 42 to 60 years. One study compared survivors who had previously received chemotherapy with those currently receiving chemotherapy without a separate control group.
Outcomes assessed in the review
Outcomes relating to cognitive function were eligible for inclusion. The outcomes included in the review incorporated 43 different tests and sub-tests (details reported). Each neuropsychological test used was assigned to one specific cognitive domain: attention and concentration, executive function, information processing speed, language, motor function, visuospatial skill, verbal memory or visual memory.
How were decisions on the relevance of primary studies made?
The authors did not state how papers were selected for the review, or how many reviewers performed the selection.