Association Between Executive Functioning and Functional Impairment Among Pediatric Cancer Survivors and Controls. Academic Article uri icon


  • To examine the impact of cancer treatment upon neurocognitive and functional impairment; and to explore the relationship between these constructs in pediatric cancer survivors compared to controls.A cross-sectional cohort of survivors (n = 26) and controls (n = 53) was included. Survivors were off treatment an average of 6.35 years (SD = 5.38; range 1-15 years) and demonstrated an average "medium" Central Nervous System (CNS) treatment intensity score. Participants completed measures of neurocognitive functions including intellectual assessment (RIST) and executive functions (NIH Examiner), while parents reported on children's functional impairment (BIS).Survivors were similar to controls in neurocognitive ability, including intellectual and executive functions, and functional impairment. Regardless of group membership, NIH Examiner performance and functional impairment increased with age. Increased impairment was associated with different neurocognitive variables for survivors versus controls.Research regarding functional impairment of cancer survivors and the association between neurocognitive deficits and functional impairment has been limited. Our results demonstrate that, while low treatment intensity may confer relative sparing of neurocognitive and executive functioning among survivors, functional impairment continues to be a potential risk. In conclusion, pediatric cancer survivors should be screened for functional difficulties, particularly in the areas of interpersonal relations and self-care.

publication date

  • October 2018