Clinical Study

Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 111, Issue 3, pp 355-366

First online:

Factors associated with long-term functional outcomes, psychological sequelae and quality of life in persons after primary brain tumour

  • Fary KhanAffiliated withDepartment of Rehabilitation, Royal Melbourne HospitalDepartment of Medicine, Dentistry & Health Sciences, University of MelbourneSchool of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University Email author 
  • , Bhasker AmatyaAffiliated withDepartment of Rehabilitation, Royal Melbourne Hospital

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To examine factors impacting long-term functional outcomes and psychological sequelae in persons with primary brain tumours (BT) in an Australian community cohort. Participants (n = 106) following definitive treatment for BT in the community were reviewed in rehabilitation clinics to assess impact on participants’ current activity and restriction in participation, using validated questionnaires: Functional Independence Measure (FIM), Perceived Impact Problem Profile (PIPP), Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, Cancer Rehabilitation Evaluation SystemShort Form and Cancer Survivor Unmet Needs Measure. Mean age of the participants was 51 years (range 21–77 years), majority were female (56 %) with median time since BT diagnosis 2.1 years and a third (39 %) had high grade tumours. Majority showed good functional recovery (median motor FIM score 75). Over half reported pain (56 %), of which 42 % had headaches. Other impairments included: ataxia (44 %), seizures (43 %); paresis (37 %), cognitive dysfunction (36 %) and visual impairment (35 %). About 20 % reported high levels of depression, compared with only 13 % in an Australian normative sample. Two-third (60 %) participants reported highest impact on the PIPP subscales for psychological wellbeing (scores of >3 on 6-point scale) and participation (45 %). Factors significantly associated with poorer current level of functioning and wellbeing included: younger participants (≤40 years), recent diagnoses, aggressive tumour types and presence of pain. No significant differences in scale scores were found across various treatments (surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy) on outcomes used. Rehabilitation for BT survivors is challenging and requires long-term management of psychological sequelae impacting activity and participation. More research into participatory limitation is needed to guide treating clinicians.


Brain tumour Rehabilitation Disability Participation Quality of life Function