A Hypothesis-Generating Study Using Electrophysiology to Examine Cognitive Function in Colon Cancer Patients


The purpose of this study was to describe the trajectory of cognitive function using neuropsychological tests and electrophysiological measures in individuals receiving 5FU/oxaliplatin chemotherapy for colon cancer.


A total of 10 participants were tested at baseline (within 3 weeks of starting chemotherapy), 6 months (coinciding with the end of chemotherapy treatment), and 12 months (approximately 6 months post-chemotherapy). Participants completed neuropsychological tests and electrophysiology recordings of P300 event-related potential (ERP) elicited by a sustained attention to response task paired with experience sampling of attentional states (subjective reports of on-task or mind wandering).


No change in mean neuropsychological test performance was observed. Comparison of mean P300 ERP amplitudes as a function of attentional states (on-task vs. mind wandering) revealed no main effect of attentional state observed at baseline or 6 months, but a significant effect of attention was observed at 12 months, consistent with effects observed in healthy individuals.


Future studies can consider sustained attention constructs when studying cognitive function in colon cancer patients.

 2019 Nov 11. pii: acz051. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acz051. [Epub ahead of print]