Purpose: Post-operative radiation therapy for brain metastases (BM) has become standard treatment. Concerns regarding the deleterious cognitive effects of Whole Brain Radiation Therapy spurred a trend to use focal therapies such as stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). The purpose of this study was to prospectively evaluate the neuropsychological effects following post-resection SRS treatment since limited data exist in this context.
Methods: We conducted a prospective single arm cohort study of patients with 1-2 BM, who underwent resection of a single BM between May 2015 to December 2016. Patients were evaluated for cognitive functions (NeuroTrax computerized neuropsychological battery; Modiin, Israel) and quality of life (QOL; QLQ-30, QLQ-BN20) before and 3 months following post-resection SRS.
Results: Twelve out of 14 patients completed pre- and post-SRS neurocognitive assessments. Overall, we did not detect significant neurocognitive or QOL changes 3 months following SRS. In a subgroup analysis among patients younger than 60 years, median global cognitive score increased from a pre-treatment score of 88 (72-102) to 95 (79-108), 3 months following SRS treatment, p = 0.042; Wilcoxon paired non-parametric test. Immediate verbal memory and executive functions scores increased from 86 (72-98) to 98 (92-112) and 86 (60-101) to 100 (80-126), respectively, p = 0.043. No significant cognitive changes were discovered among patients at the age of 60 or older.
Conclusions: Post-resection radiosurgery has a safe neuro-cognitive profile and is associated with preservation of nearly all quality of life parameters. Patients younger than 60 years benefit most and may even regain some cognitive functions within a few months after treatment.
Keywords: Brain metastases; Cognition; Quality of life; Stereotactic radiosurgery.