Delay in diagnosing patients with right-sided glioblastoma induced by hemispheric-specific clinical presentation

  • Claudia BaumannEmail author
  • Julia Tichy
  • Jan Hendrik Schaefer
  • Joachim P. Steinbach
  • Michel Mittelbronn
  • Marlies Wagner
  • Christian Foerch
Clinical Study



Cognitive functions are differentially represented in brain hemispheres. Aphasia is an “easy to recognize” symptom of diseases affecting the left side. In contrast, lesions in the right hemisphere cause subtle neuropsychological deficits such as neglect and anosognosia. We evaluated whether right-sided malignant brain tumors are on average larger at the time of first diagnosis as compared to left-sided tumors, and extrapolated the delay in diagnosing right-sided tumors compared to the left side.


All first-ever diagnosed glioblastoma (GBM) patients between 2005 and 2012 were identified using our hospital-based prospective research registry. Baseline data, information on initial clinical presentation and imaging findings (including tumor volume) were collected. Extrapolation of time since tumor initiation was based on an established gompertzian growth model.


We included 173 patients. Mean age of the study population was 58 ± 13 years. Tumors located in the right hemisphere (n = 96) were larger as compared to tumors located in the left hemisphere (n = 77) (median 36.4 mL [interquartile range 13.0–56.0; minimum 0.2, maximum 140.0] vs. 17.2 mL [7.7–45.1 mL; 0.4, 105.2]; p = 0.011). Right-sided tumors grew longer than left-sided tumors (378 ± 95 days vs. 341 ± 74 days; p = 0.006). Initial neuropsychological symptoms differed depending on the affected hemisphere.


Right-hemispheric symptoms appear to be less clinically conspicuous resulting in a delayed diagnosis of GBM, which might be improved by raising awareness for the corresponding neuropsychological deficits. Whether our findings have prognostic implications needs to be evaluated in future studies.


Brain tumor Neuropsychology Side Growth 



MM would like to thank the Luxembourg National Research Fond (FNR) for the support (FNR PEARL P16/BM/11192868 Grant).


The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the local ethics committee (SNO-06-2016).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyGoethe UniversityFrankfurt am MainGermany
  2. 2.Institute of NeuroradiologyGoethe UniversityFrankfurt am MainGermany
  3. 3.Dr. Senckenberg Institute of NeurooncologyGoethe UniversityFrankfurt am MainGermany
  4. 4.German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), Partner Site Frankfurt/MainzFrankfurtGermany
  5. 5.German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)HeidelbergGermany
  6. 6.University Cancer Center (UCT)FrankfurtGermany
  7. 7.Institute of Neurology (Edinger Institute)Goethe UniversityFrankfurt am MainGermany
  8. 8.Luxembourg Centre of Neuropathology (LCNP)LuxembourgLuxembourg
  9. 9.Laboratoire National de Santé (LNS)DudelangeLuxembourg
  10. 10.Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB)University of LuxembourgEsch-sur-AlzetteLuxembourg
  11. 11.NORLUX Neuro-Oncology Laboratory, Department of OncologyLuxembourg Institute of Health (L.I.H.)LuxembourgLuxembourg

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