Cognitive Functioning and Quality of Life in Malignant Glioma Patients: A Review of the Literature

Psychooncology. 1997 Sep;6(3):169-77. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1611(199709)6:3<169::AID-PON269>3.0.CO;2-#.


The state of current research in the psychosocial and neurocognitive functioning of primary brain tumor patients, particularly those with gliomas, is reviewed. Specific instruments that have been used to evaluate psychosocial and neurocognitive functioning in this population are reviewed. Suggestions are made, based on the review, of the most appropriate psychosocial and neurocognitive instruments to implement in clinical research. Finally, research pertaining to psychosocial and neurocognitive interventions is reviewed and suggestions for further research are outlined. Few studies have adequately addressed the cognitive and psychosocial functioning of brain tumor patients and have focused primarily on relatively insensitive measures of outcome, including IQ scores, performance status, and neurologic examinations. The use of well-accepted, psychometrically sound quality of life instruments and more specific tests of cognitive functioning need to be included in clinical trials since most current treatments have a limited effect on the length of survival. Thus, the main rationale for selecting a given brain tumor therapy may ultimately be related to its profile of neurotoxic side-effects and impact on quality of life.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications
  • Brain Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / adverse effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / standards
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Female
  • Glioma / complications
  • Glioma / psychology*
  • Glioma / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methylphenidate / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests / standards
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / standards*
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Psychometrics / standards
  • Quality of Life*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methylphenidate