In a new study, researchers found that breast cancer drug letrozole has side effects that impact brain functions.
Letrozole is used to prevent breast cancer recurrence by interfering with the production of estrogens.
Although side effects such as mood disturbances and memory issues have been reported in both humans and animals, little is known about how the drug impacts the brain.
In the current study, experiments were conducted on monkeys.
The team fed Letrozole to male and female monkeys via pudding for four weeks and observed many of the same behavioral changes, including hot flashes and increased anxiety, experienced by women receiving similar treatment.
Letrozole also compromised the function of neurons in the hippocampus and impaired spatial memory.
Together these findings emphasize the need for further investigation of breast cancer treatments and their effects on the brain.
The research establishes the monkeys as an important nonhuman primate model for studying the effects of estrogen-reducing treatments on the nervous system.
The study is published in Journal of Neuroscience.
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