Chemobrain as a Product of Growing Success in Chemotherapy - Focus On Glia As Both A Victim And A CureAuthor(s): Piotr Walczak, Miroslaw Janowski
Chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment or chemobrain is a frequent consequence of cancer treatment with many psychiatric features. Ironically, the increasing efficacy of chemotherapy leaves growing number of patients alive with chemobrain. Therefore, there is an urgent need for strategies capable of returning cancer survivors back to their pre-morbid quality of life. Molecular mechanisms of chemobrain are largely unknown. Over the last decade there was a lot of emphasis in preclinical research on inflammatory consequences of chemotherapy and oxidative stress but so far none of these approaches were translated into clinical scenario. The co-administration of chemotherapy with protective agents was evaluated preclinically but it should be introduced with caution as potential interference was not yet studied and that could blunt therapeutic efficacy. Stem cell-based regenerative medicine approach has so far been exploited very sparsely in the context of chemobrain and the focus was on indirect mechanisms or neuronal replacement in the hippocampus. However, there is evidence for widespread white matter abnormalities in patients with chemobrain. This is quite logical considering life-long proliferation and turnover of glial cells, which makes them vulnerable to chemotherapeutic agents. Feasibility of glia replacement has been established in mice with global dysmyelination where profound therapeutic effect has been observed but only in case of global cell engraftment (across the entire brain). While global glia replacement has been achieved in mice translation to clinical setting might be challenging due to much larger brain size. Therefore, a lot of attention should be directed towards the route of administration to accomplish widespread cell delivery. Techniques facilitating that broad cell distribution including intra-arterial and intrathecal methods should be considered as very compelling options. Summarizing, chemobrain is a rapidly growing medical problem and global glia replacement should be considered as worthwhile therapeutic strategy.