OBJECTIVE: This study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that brain tumors interfere with normal brain function by disrupting functional connectivity of brain networks.
METHODS: Functional connectivity was assessed by computing the synchronization likelihood in a broad band (0.5-60Hz) or in the gamma band (30-60Hz) between all pairwise combinations of magnetoencephalography signals. Magnetoencephalography recordings were made at rest in 17 brain tumor patients and 15 healthy control subjects. For a given threshold of synchronization likelihood values, graphs of the suprathreshold connections between each magnetoencephalography channel and the others channels were built.
RESULTS: In some regions, a variable number of channels without connectivity (missing connective points) at this threshold was found. The number of missing connective points was higher in patients with brain tumors than in control subjects (p < 0.0001, broad and gamma band) and was higher for left-sided than right-sided tumors (p = 0.008, broad band; p < 0.0001, gamma band). Individual results analysis indicates that the majority of brain tumor patients display several regions with missing connective point alterations in the affected and in the contralateral hemisphere.
INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggest that brain tumors induce a loss of functional connectivity that affects multiple brain regions, and that left side brain tumors have the more severe consequences in this respect.