Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 59–67 | Cite as

Decision-making abilities in patients with frontal low-grade glioma

  • Giulia Mattavelli
  • Alessandra Casarotti
  • Matteo Forgiarini
  • Marco Riva
  • Lorenzo Bello
  • Costanza PapagnoEmail author
Clinical Study


Decisions in daily life are often quite complex, especially when one has to decide about his/her own health, as it is the case for patients with brain tumours. The integrity of the prefrontal cortex (and of the orbito-frontal in particular) is crucial in humans for practical decision-making. We investigated decision-making in 22 right-handed patients with a left frontal low-grade glioma, by means of a more complex, computerized version of the Iowa gambling task and we compared their performance with that of 26 neurologically-unimpaired subjects. After the experiment, we also administered a questionnaire to evaluate subjects’ conscious comprehension level of the task and two self-report scales to verify potential effects of individual personality differences. Patients chose significantly less cards than controls from the advantageous deck, without modifying their behaviour over time, and this correlated with abstract reasoning abilities. In both groups, level of comprehension, significantly affected performance. An improvement was found post-surgery. In conclusion, the performance in the Gambling Task suggests that patients with left frontal low-grade gliomas can be impaired in decision-making, apparently requiring more time to understand the task: therefore, a particular attention and care should be taken to explain risks and consequences of his/her illness and treatment in order to obtain an informed decision from the patient.


Low-grade glioma Decision-making Gambling task Prefrontal cortex 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giulia Mattavelli
    • 1
  • Alessandra Casarotti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Matteo Forgiarini
    • 1
  • Marco Riva
    • 2
  • Lorenzo Bello
    • 2
  • Costanza Papagno
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Neurological ScienceUniversity of MilanoMilanItaly

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