A missing piece? Neuropsychiatric functioning in untreated patients with tumors within the cerebellopontine angle

Abstract

Purpose

To date, little is known about neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with tumors within the cerebellopontine angle (CPA). These, however, might be of clinical relevance. Aim of this study was thus to assess possible impairment in cognition, elevation in mood symptoms, and fatigue in this specific patient group.

Methods

Forty-five patients with an untreated CPA tumor (27 vestibularis schwannoma, 18 meningioma) were tested within a cross-sectional observational study in a single institution prior to neurosurgical treatment. Patients were administered a multifaceted battery comprising of widely-used tests for assessment of neuropsychiatric functioning.

Results

The majority of the included patients (69%) showed neurocognitive impairment, most frequently in the areas of attention and visuo-motor speed (e.g., alertness) (62%) as well as visuo-construction (44%). Impaired structural integrity of the brain stem was accompanied by more serious neurocognitive deficits. About one-third of the sample reported clinically relevant depression and/or anxiety and an even higher proportion (48%) described high levels of fatigue. Cognitive and affective symptoms as well as fatigue contributed significantly to patients’ Quality of Life, indicating the clinical relevance of neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with CPA tumors.

Conclusions

Although patients with untreated CPA tumors often suffer from devastating and prominent physical symptoms, neuropsychiatric problems are also frequent. Including these aspects in the routine clinical assessment and initiating treatment accordingly might thus improve clinical management of the patients and improve Quality of Life.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Maren Hinck for valuable support during manuscript preparation.

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Correspondence to Simone Goebel.

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Goebel, S., Mehdorn, H.M. A missing piece? Neuropsychiatric functioning in untreated patients with tumors within the cerebellopontine angle. J Neurooncol 140, 145–153 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11060-018-2944-z

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Keywords

  • Tumor
  • Cerebellopontine angle
  • Neuropsychology
  • Cognition
  • Affect
  • HRQoL