J Gynecol Oncol | Volume 5, Issue 1 | Research Article | Open Access

Neural Correlates of Pain Empathy Impairment in Chemotherapy-Treated Breast Cancer Survivors

Wen Li, Yue Lv, Shaochun Liu, Senbang Yao, Sheng Yu, Lingxue Tang and Huaidong Cheng*

Department of Oncology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, China

*Correspondance to: Huaidong Cheng 

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Purpose: To investigate the potential effects of chemotherapy on pain empathy in breast cancer patients and the neural correlates in an Event-Related Potentials (ERP) study. Methods: Twenty-two breast cancer patients were evaluated with a pain empathy task during recording of ERP before and after chemotherapy. Pictures depicting people in pain or in neutral emotions were presented to the participants, who were to determine whether the person felt pain (pain task) or to identify the affected side of the body part (laterality task). Primary Outcome: Compared to the baseline (before chemotherapy), patients showed lower scores in empathic concern and higher scores in personal distress on the Chinese version of Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI-C) after chemotherapy. In both pain and laterality tasks, there was no significant differences in the response time before and after chemotherapy. However, patients showed a lower accuracy rate after than before chemotherapy. Further, the peak amplitude of N1 and P2 was significantly higher and lower, respectively, after as compared to before chemotherapy. Results: The results suggested pain empathy impairment in chemotherapy-treated breast cancer patients. The deficits may be related to altered N1and P2 components of the ERP. Implications for Cancer Survivors: These findings provide helpful information with substantial positive consequences for breast cancer survivorship, and add to the literature of chemotherapyinduced cognitive impairment in breast cancer.


Breast cancer; Empathy; Chemotherapy; Event-related potentials


Li W, Lv Y, Liu S, Yao S, Yu S, Tang L, et al. Neural Correlates of Pain Empathy Impairment in Chemotherapy- Treated Breast Cancer Survivors. J Gynecol Oncol. 2022; 5(1): 1072.

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