Quality of life in brain tumor patients

J Neurooncol. 1996 Oct;30(1):71-80. doi: 10.1007/BF00177445.


With the aim of evaluating the quality of life (QL) of 101 brain tumor patients, a multidimensional approach was adopted, using the Functional Living Index-Cancer (FLIC) as a global measure of well-being, the Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) and the Index of Independence in Activity of Daily Living (ADL) as indices of physical and functional dimensions, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Self-Rating Depression Scale (SRDS) for psychological assessment, and neuropsychological tests for abstract reasoning, attention, memory and frontal lobe functions. The patients were grouped on the grounds of disease stage and treatment. The FLIC and KPS ratings increased from the patients who had just undergone surgery to patients who were disease-free after completing chemotherapy and radiotherapy, thus showing that the QL may improve during the disease despite aggressive treatments, providing there is no tumor recurrence. However, only the FLIC consistently discriminated the patients' stratification. The ADL revealed no between-group differences, whereas the STAI and SRDS revealed the presence of emotional troubles at the beginning and at the end of treatment. Cognitive impairment was more serious after radiotherapy and chemotherapy, as well as in patients with tumor recurrence. The FLIC significantly correlated with all of the other scales used, showing that it is useful in summarizing both the physical and psychosocial impairment of brain tumor patients. Of the pathological variables, a tumor location in the anterior right hemisphere or diencephalon was associated with high FLIC ratings, may be due to the minor cognitive impairment observed in patients with these tumor sites. Of the demographic variables, the level of education was associated with high FLIC ratings, thus highlighting the role of psychosocial environment in improving the QL. The use of a multidimensional approach or a global index of well-being that also reflects psychosocial and cognitive aspects proved to be more appropriate than traditional functional instruments (such as the KPS) in assessing the QL of brain tumor patients and in detecting the extent of the disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Quality of Life*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Statistics as Topic