Certain breast cancer medications directly linked to brain malfunction, Toronto researchers find

Mammograms used to screen women for breast cancer can also indicate the patient's risk for cardiovascular diseases. REUTERS

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto has found that certain breast cancer medications will negatively impact the overall functions of the brain, causing mood disturbances and memory issues, in both animals and humans.

During the research, scientists administered letrozole, a popular drug used to treat breast cancer, to male and female marmosets - a nonhuman primate model for four weeks. Analysis revealed that these nonhuman participants showed many behavioral changes including the development of hot flashes along with increased anxiety. It should be noted that women who take letrozole also used to complain about these side effects.

The new study report published in journal Neuroscience also revealed that letrozole compromised the function of neurons in the hippocampus, an organ located in the brain. The intake of letrozole also negatively impacted the spatial memory of cancer victims.

Letrozole is widely prescribed by oncologists all across the world to treat breast cancer. This drug used to prevent breast cancer recurrence by interfering with the production of estrogen.

In the study report, researchers also talked about emphasizing the need for further investigation of breast cancer treatments and their effects on the brain.

This is not the first time that researchers are figuring out ailments associated with breast cancer treatment. A few months back, the American Heart Association had warned that women who underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer are more prone to cardiovascular diseases like heart failure. It should be also noted that this statement from the American Heart Association was the first scientific warning that talked about the link between cardiovascular diseases and breast cancer.

Researchers revealed that cardiovascular disorders and breast cancer have several overlapping factors like age and obesity. The association also urged breast cancer patients to discuss their issues and risks with doctors to get the maximum benefit of treatment.

This article was first published on December 26, 2018