Objective neurocognitive functioning and neurocognitive complaints in patients with high-grade glioma: Evidence of cognitive awareness from the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer brain tumour clinical trials

Ivan Caramanna, Andrew Bottomley, A Josephine Drijver, Jos Twisk, Martin van den Bent, Ahmed Idbaih, Wolfgang Wick, Madeline Pe, Martin Klein, Jaap C Reijneveld, EORTC Quality of Life Group and Brain Tumour Group

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BACKGROUND: Neurocognitively impaired patients with brain tumour are presumed to have reduced cognitive awareness preventing them from adequately valuing and reporting their own functioning, for instance, when providing patient-reported outcomes (PROs) such as health-related quality of life instruments. In this cross-sectional study, we aimed at assessing the concordance of neurocognitive complaints (NCCs) and objective neurocognitive functioning (NCF) as a measure of cognitive awareness.

METHODS: NCF was assessed using an internationally accepted clinical trial battery. NCC was assessed using the cognitive functioning questionnaire from the Medical Outcome Study (MOS) and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire cognitive functioning subscale. Patients were divided in cognitively impaired and unimpaired groups, based on their NCF performance. Pearson's correlation coefficients between NCF and NCCs were calculated. The same procedure was used to evaluate the correlation of NCF and QLQ-C30 CF subscale.

RESULTS: Data from EORTC trials 26091 and 26101 were pooled into a data set of 546 patients. Twenty percent of patients could be characterised as unimpaired (109) and 80% as impaired (437). Impaired patients reported more cognitive complaints on the MOS scale than unimpaired patients. Correlations between NCF and NCCs were weak but significant for impaired patients and non-significant for unimpaired ones. Similar results were found for the correlation between NCF test performance and the QLQ-C30 CF subscale.

CONCLUSION: Correlations between NCF test scores and complaints were weak but suggesting that neurocognitive impairment in patients with HGG does not preclude cognitive awareness. However, considering the findings of this study, we would suggest not to use PROs as a surrogate of performance-based neurocognitive evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-168
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Early online date18 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

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