Purpose: To evaluate the effects of cranial radiotherapy (RT) on cognitive function in patients with supratentorial low-grade glioma.
Methods and materials: Twenty adult patients with supratentorial low-grade glioma were treated with 50.4 Gy (10 patients) or 64.8 Gy (10 patients) localized RT. The patients then were evaluated with an extensive battery of psychometric tests at baseline (before RT) and at approximately 18-month intervals for as long as 5 years after completing RT. To allow patients to serve as their own controls, cognitive performance was evaluated as change in scores over time. All patients underwent at least two evaluations.
Results: Baseline test scores were below average compared with age-specific norms. At the second evaluation, the groups' mean test scores were higher than their initial performances on all psychometric measures, although the improvement was not statistically significant. No changes in cognitive performance were seen during the evaluation period when test scores were analyzed by age, treatment, tumor location, tumor type, or extent of resection.
Conclusions: Cognitive function was stable after RT in these patients evaluated prospectively during 3 years of follow-up. Slight improvements in some cognitive areas are consistent with practice effects attributable to increased familiarity with test procedures and content.