How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted clinical care and research in Neuro-Oncology?

J Clin Neurosci. 2022 Nov:105:91-102. doi: 10.1016/j.jocn.2022.09.004. Epub 2022 Sep 8.


The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the continued delivery of healthcare globally. Due to disease risk, clinicians were forced to re-evaluate the safety and priorities of pre-pandemic care. Neuro-oncology presents unique challenges, as patients can deteriorate rapidly without intervention. These challenges were also observed in countries with reduced COVID-19 burden with centres required to rapidly develop strategies to maintain efficient and equitable care. This review aims to summarise the impact of the pandemic on clinical care and research within the practice of Neuro-oncology. A narrative review of the literature was performed using MEDLINE and EMBASS and results screened using PRISMA guidelines with relevant inclusion and exclusion criteria. Search strategies included variations of 'Neuro-oncology' combined with COVID-19 and other clinical-related terms. Most adult and paediatric neurosurgical centres experienced reductions in new referrals and operations for brain malignancies, and those who did present for treatment frequently had operations cancelled or delayed. Many radiation therapy and medical oncology centres altered treatment plans to mitigate COVID-19 risk for patients and staff. New protocols were developed that aimed to reduce in-person visits and reduce the risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to the provision of safe and accessible healthcare. Despite these challenges, some benefits to healthcare provision such as the use of telemedicine are likely to remain in future practice. Neuro-oncology staff must remain vigilant to ensure patient and staff safety.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Glioma; Impact; Medical oncology; Neuro-oncology; Neuro-oncology research; Neurosurgery; Pandemic; Radiation therapy; SARS-CoV-2; Surgery; Telemedicine; paediatric Neuro-oncology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology
  • Pandemics
  • Telemedicine*