Neurocognitive Impairment After Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant for Hematologic Malignancies: Phenotype and Mechanisms

Rebecca A. Harrison, Noha Sharafeldin, Jennie L. Rexer, Brennan Streck, Melissa Petersen, Ashley M. Henneghan, Shelli R. Kesler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) plays a central role in the treatment of hematologic cancers. With the increasing survival of patients after HSCT, survivorship issues experienced by this population have become an important outcome. Cognitive impairment is an established sequela of HSCT, with studies to date establishing its presence, associated risk factors, and clinical phenotype. There are multiple potential contributors to cognitive impairment after HSCT. Efforts are ongoing to further characterize its clinical phenotype, associated biomarkers, and biologic underpinnings. A fundamental knowledge of post-HSCT cognitive impairment is of value for all clinicians who interface with this population, and further academic efforts are needed to more fully understand the impact of this cancer treatment on brain health. Implications for Practice: As survival outcomes after hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) improve, an awareness of the post-treatment challenges faced by this population has become central to its care. HSCT can have a sustained and broad impact on brain health, causing cognitive dysfunction, fatigue, disturbed mood, and sleep. In affected patients, autonomy, return to work, relationships, and quality of life may all be affected. A fundamental fluency in this area is important for clinicians interfacing with HSCT survivors, facilitating the identification and management of cognitive dysfunction and concurrent symptom clusters, and stimulating interest in these sequelae as areas for future clinical research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e2021-e2033
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Cancer
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Hematologic cancer
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Oncology


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