Background: Cognitive impairment is an adverse reaction of cancer chemotherapy and is likely to affect up to 75% of patients during the treatment and 35% of patients experience it for several months after the chemotherapy. Patients manifest symptoms like alteration in working ability, awareness, concentration, visual-verbal memory, attention, executive functions, processing speed, fatigue and behavioural dysfunctions. Post-chemotherapy, cancer survivors have a reduced quality of life due to the symptoms of chemobrain. Apart from this, there are clinical reports which also associate mood disorders, vascular complications, and seizures in some cases. Therefore, the quality of lifestyle of cancer patients/ survivors is severely affected and only worsens due to absence of any efficacious treatments. With the increase in survivorship, it’s vital to identify effective strategies, until then only symptomatic relief for chemobrain can be provided. The depressive symptoms were causally linked to the pathophysiological imbalance between the pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
Conclusion: The common causative factor, cytokines can be targeted for the amelioration of an associated symptom of both depression and chemotherapy. Thus, antidepressants can have a beneficial effect on chemotherapy-induced inflammation and cognitive dysfunction via cytokine balance. Also, neurogenesis property of certain antidepressant drugs rationalises their evaluation against CICI. This review briefly glances upon chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment (CICI), and the modulatory effect of antidepressants on CICI pathomechanisms.