Deficits in neurocognitive functioning (NCF) frequently occur in glioma patients. Both treatment and the tumor itself contribute to these deficits. Data about the role of the tumor are scarce, because NCF has mostly been studied postoperatively. We aimed to summarize data on pre-treatment NCF in glioma patients and to determine the overall and domain-specific prevalence of neurocognitive dysfunction. We searched PubMed and Embase according to PRISMA-P protocol for studies that evaluated pre-treatment NCF in glioma patients (1995-November 2016) and extracted information about NCF. We performed analysis of data for two main outcome measures; mean cognitive functioning of the study sample (at group level) and the percentage of impaired patients (at individual level). We included 23 studies. Most studies were small observational prospective cohort studies. In 11 (47.5%) studies, patient selection was based on tumor location. NCF was analyzed at the group level in 14 studies, of which 13 (92.9%) found decreased NCF at group level, compared to normative data or matched controls. The proportion of individuals with decreased NCF was reported in 15 studies. NCF was impaired (in any domain) in 62.6% of the individuals (median; interquartile range 31.0–79.0). Cognitive impairments were more common in patients with high-grade glioma than with low-grade glioma (OR 2.50; 95% CI 1.71–3.66). Cognitive impairment occurs in the majority of treatment-naive glioma patients, suggesting that neurocognitive dysfunction is related to the tumor. However, the literature about pre-treatment NCF in glioma patients is characterized by small-scale studies and strong heterogeneity in patient selection, resulting in high risk of bias.
Journal of Neuro-Oncology – Springer Journals
Published: May 31, 2017
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