Longitudinal cognitive follow-up in low grade gliomas
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Background In patients with low-grade glioma (LGG), the tumor and its treatment with conformal radiation therapy (RT) and chemotherapy can disrupt cognitive function. However, the contribution of disease and treatment to long-term cognitive outcome remains to be elucidated. In this study, we performed longitudinal cognitive follow-up in a subgroup of patients who received RT, chemotherapy, or no treatment. Methods Twenty-five LGG patients underwent neuropsychological evaluations at study entry, and 6 and 12 months subsequently; 9 patients had RT ± chemotherapy prior to enrollment and 16 had no treatment. Results At the initial evaluation, treated patients had impaired performance on motor speed only, but scored 1 standard deviation below normative values on tests of executive functions; untreated patients had no cognitive impairment. Repeated measures analyses of variance showed a significant variation over time (P = 0.03) in nonverbal memory (delayed recall); treated patients’ performance improved at the 6-month follow-up to a level comparable to untreated patients, but both groups declined slightly by the 12-month evaluation. In a subset of patients (N = 16) available for an additional cognitive evaluation, significant changes between the 12-month and the long-term follow-up were seen in phonemic verbal fluency, mood and quality of life; untreated patients seen at short intervals improved slightly while treated patients seen at longer intervals declined. Conclusions Longitudinal follow-up showed that both disease duration and treatment with RT ± chemotherapy contributed to a mild decrement in nonverbal recall and in some aspects of executive functions and quality of life in this group of LGG patients.
KeywordsLow-grade glioma Radiation Chemotherapy Neuropsychology Cognitive
The authors thank Jocelyn Dantis and Rima Dolgoff-Kaspar for their assistance with graphics and data management. The paper is supported by research grants from the Charles Dana Foundation and the National Brain Tumor Foundation to Dr. Denise D. Correa.
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