Relationship between distressing cancer-related recollections and hippocampal volume in cancer survivors

Tomohito Nakano, Marcus Wenner, Masatoshi Inagaki, Akira Kugaya, Tatsuo Akechi, Yutaka Matsuoka, Yuriko Sugahara, Shigeru Imoto, Koji Murakami, Yosuke Uchitomi

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68 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Having cancer is extremely stressful, and distressing cancer-related recollections are frequently reported by cancer survivors. Smaller hippocampal volume has been observed in stress-related neuropsychiatric disorders, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is a similar association between distressing cancer-related recollections and hippocampal volume. Method: The subjects were 67 women who had had breast cancer surgery 3 or more years earlier and had no history of PTSD or major depression before the cancer. Each woman was evaluated with a semistructured interview to determine whether she had a history of distressing cancer-related recollections. Hippocampal volume was measured by three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging, and memory function was assessed by the Wechsler Memory Scale - Revised. Results: The volume of the left hippocampus was significantly smaller (5%) in the subjects with a history of distressing cancer-related recollections (N=28) than in those without any such history (N=39). There was no significant difference in right hippocampal volume or whole brain volume measured as a control. There were no significant differences in delayed memory or percentage retention. However, significantly worse immediate visual memory, but not verbal memory, was observed in the subjects with a history of distressing cancer-related recollections. Conclusions: Having distressing cancer-related recollections is associated with smaller left hippocampal volume in survivors of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2087-2093
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Volume159
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Dec 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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    Nakano, T., Wenner, M., Inagaki, M., Kugaya, A., Akechi, T., Matsuoka, Y., Sugahara, Y., Imoto, S., Murakami, K., & Uchitomi, Y. (2002). Relationship between distressing cancer-related recollections and hippocampal volume in cancer survivors. American Journal of Psychiatry, 159(12), 2087-2093. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.159.12.2087