Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Neuropsychological Interventions on Cognitive Function in Non-Central Nervous System Cancer Survivors

Yingchun Zeng, Shu Kei Cheng, Che Hin Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Cognitive impairment is a common complaint among cancer survivors, significantly impacting working memory, attention, executive function, and information processing speed. This meta-analysis aims to evaluate the effect of neuropsychological interventions on the cognitive function of non-central nervous system (non-CNS) cancer survivors. Methods. Three databases (PubMed, PsycInfo, and CAJ Full-text Database) were searched from January 2010 to September 2015. Controlled clinical trials of neuropsychological interventions for the treatment of cognitive impairment in cancer survivors were considered for inclusion. Results. A total of 10 eligible trials were included in this meta-analysis. Three trials assessed the effects of cognitive rehabilitation (CR) interventions, and the weighted mean difference (WMD) for the overall intervention effect was -0.19 (95% confidence interval [CI] = -2.98 to 2.61). Two trials examined the effects of cognitive training (CT) interventions on the cognitive function of cancer survivors; the standardized mean difference (SMD) for the overall effect was 0.52 (95% CI = 0.06 to 0.98). The overall effect of CR interventions on neuropsychological status at postintervention was 5.66 (95% CI = 2.97 to 8.35). The SMD of CR and CT intervention for objective function by verbal learning tests was 0.50 (95% CI = 0.19 to 0.81) at postintervention, and 0.58 (95% CI = 0.19-0.98) at follow-up assessment within 6 months. Conclusion. Findings from this meta-analysis indicate that neuropsychological interventions can improve cognitive function in non-CNS cancer survivors, and support the need for future research. However, the conclusion from this meta-analysis was based on trials with small sample sizes. Future research should be conducted using a larger sample size. Relevant clinical implications were discussed accordingly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-434
Number of pages11
JournalIntegrative Cancer Therapies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • cancer survivors
  • cognitive impairment
  • meta-analysis
  • neuropsychological interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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