Neurocognitive and functional assessment of patients with brain metastases: a pilot study

Am J Clin Oncol. 2003 Jun;26(3):273-9. doi: 10.1097/01.COC.0000020585.85901.7C.


The outcome of patients with brain metastases is generally poor. Survival alone is not necessarily a good measure of clinical outcome. Measures of neurocognitive function and the impact of the disease and treatments on functional status also need to be considered. Although these parameters have been measured in patients with primary brain tumors, they have not been as thoroughly evaluated in patients with brain metastases. The Mini-Mental State Examination provides limited assessment of neurocognitive domains impaired in brain tumor patients. It is less sensitive to mild impairment, does not avoid memorized learning from repeat administration, and does not have validated alternative forms necessary for non-English speaking patients. To determine the feasibility of using a more comprehensive neurocognitive test battery, motor, verbal, executive, and daily functions were assessed in 30 patients with brain metastases. The test battery included the Hopkins Verbal Learning Tests, Controlled Oral Word Association Test, Grooved Pegboard Test, Trailmaking Tests A and B, and the Barthel Index. In this study, there was complete patient compliance, with average test completion time of 23 +/- 6 minutes. Despite high functional status, most patients demonstrated impairment in memory and fine motor domains. Neurocognitive test batteries can and should be used in patients with brain metastases enrolled in clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Psychometrics
  • Severity of Illness Index*