Patient-reported functional executive challenges and caregiver confirmation in adult brain tumor survivors



The main objective of this study was to provide further information concerning the validity of patient-reported executive function (EF) in survivors of primary brain tumor (PBT) compared with a report provided by each patient’s caregiver.


Forty survivors of PBT, 40 non-cancer controls and their proxies completed an assessment of functional executive disorders (e.g., planning, inhibition, shifting, action initiation). Comparisons of self and informant EF reports were examined, for both patients and non-cancer controls. The extent of the concordance between patients’ reports and their caregivers’ reports was also determined.


PBT survivors and their caregivers reported more problems related to EF in contrast with the non-cancer comparison group (significant differences). There was a high level of agreement between patients’ and caregivers’ ratings within the patient group.


This study provides evidence suggesting that at an average of 3.67 (SD = 2.31) years following treatment for a PBT, EF difficulties are reported by patients and their caregivers. This study establishes a consistency between what is reported by survivors and what is reported by those who frequently interact with them. Further research investigating the link between these ratings and quality of life as well as other functions is encouraged.

Implications for Cancer Survivors

This study’s results demonstrate the importance of listening to PBT survivors’ perception of EF difficulties. While not confirmed by neuropsychological evaluations, the functional executive challenges reported by these survivors’ close relatives reflect what PBT survivors themselves report. Specialists should pay close attention to these difficulties to guarantee optimal post-cancer care.

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We wish to thank participants, families, and informants for their useful implication in this study.

We thank Hector Salcedo for his help in proofreading the current manuscript.


This study was supported by the French National Cancer Institute (INCa) (grant number SHSESP14- 14-041).

Author information




JB, PA, and DLG contributed to the study conception and design. PM, VR, RS, and MD recruited participants. Material preparation, data collection, and analysis were performed by NC, AR, and JB. JB supervised the project. NC and JB wrote the first version of the manuscript. All authors commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jérémy Besnard.

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Ethics approval

The present study received French regulatory ethical approval (Comité de Protection des Personnes Ouest II, n°2015/27, ID-RCB n°2015-A01192-47) which includes the International Review Board Authorization (N°NCT02693405).

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Cantisano, N., Menei, P., Roualdes, V. et al. Patient-reported functional executive challenges and caregiver confirmation in adult brain tumor survivors. J Cancer Surviv (2020).

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  • Functional executive deficits
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Primary Brain Tumor (PBT)
  • Cognitive late effects
  • BRIEF-A concordance