Neuropsychological Interventions for Cancer-Related Cognitive Impairment: A Network Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Andy S.K. Cheng, Xiaoming Wang, Niu Niu, Minyu Liang, Yingchun Zeng (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The aim of this network meta-analysis was to evaluate the comparative effects of neuropsychological interventions for cancer-related cognitive impairment (CRCI), and to rank the best intervention options for adult cancer patients with CRCI. Twenty-seven eligible randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were searched, and a total of six interventions identified: cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT), cognitive rehabilitation (CR), cognitive training (CT), meditation/mindfulness-based interventions, psychoeducation, and supportive care. In terms of effectiveness, the relative effect size of CBT, CR, and CT in managing subjective cognition had statistically significant differences – 0.94 (0.43–1.44), 0.54 (0.03–1.05), and 0.47 (0.13–0.81), respectively. The most effective interventions to manage the objective cognition of attention were meditation or mindfulness-based interventions: intervention effect size was 0.58 (0.24–0.91). The relative effect size of CT had a statistically significant difference in managing verbal memory, and the intervention effect size was 1.16 (0.12–2.20). The relative effect size of psychoeducation in managing executive function compared with control had a statistically significant difference, which was 0.56 (0.26–0.86). For managing information processing speed, the most effective intervention was CT and the effect size was -0.58 (-1.09—-0.06). This network meta-analysis found that CT is the most effective intervention for managing the objective cognition of verbal memory and processing speed; meditation/mindfulness-based interventions may be the best option for enhancing attention; psychoeducation is the most effective intervention for managing executive function; CT may be the best option for managing verbal fluency as the intervention ranking probability. For the management of subjective cognition, CBT may be the most effective intervention.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuropsychology Review
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2022


  • Cancer patients
  • Cancer-related cognitive impairment
  • Network meta-analysis
  • Neuropsychological interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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