Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 19, Issue 11, pp 1849–1855

Prospective comparison of the prognostic utility of the Mini Mental State Examination and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment in patients with brain metastases

  • Robert Olson
  • Scott Tyldesley
  • Hannah Carolan
  • Maureen Parkinson
  • Taruna Chhanabhai
  • Michael McKenzie
Original Article



The Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) is the most commonly chosen cognitive screening test (CST) in clinical practice and trials, despite its poor sensitivity, likely because of its prognostic utility. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) is an alternative CST, is more sensitive, and is better correlated with quality of life.


Sixty-five patients with brain metastases were prospectively accrued and completed both the MMSE and MoCA. We compared the prognostic utility of both CSTs.


The mean age of patients was 59.0 years; 42.0% had single brain metastases. Median MMSE and MoCA scores were 28 and 22, respectively. Median overall survival (OS) was worse for individuals with below- versus above-average MMSE scores (10.4 versus 36.3 weeks, p = 0.007). Likewise, below- versus above-average MoCA scores were prognostic (6.3 versus 50.0 weeks, p < 0.001). Median OS for MoCA scores <22, 22–26, and >26 were 6.3, 30.9, and 61.7 weeks, respectively (p < 0.001). On multivariable analysis, below-average MMSE scores were no longer prognostic (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.71 [0.90–3.26]), though below-average MoCA scores were (HR = 5.44 [2.70–10.94]). Furthermore, the MoCA demonstrated superior prognostic utility when comparing multivariable models with continuous CST scores.


Our results indicate that the MoCA is a superior prognostic indicator than the MMSE. Furthermore, given its superior sensitivity and better correlation with quality of life, the MoCA should be preferentially chosen in clinical practice and trials.


Montreal Cognitive Assessment Mini Mental State Examination Prognosis Brain metastases Cognition 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Olson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Scott Tyldesley
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hannah Carolan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maureen Parkinson
    • 1
    • 3
  • Taruna Chhanabhai
    • 1
  • Michael McKenzie
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Vancouver Cancer CentreBC Cancer AgencyVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Division of Radiation Oncology and Developmental RadiotherapeuticsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Fraser Valley Cancer CentreBC Cancer AgencyVancouverCanada

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