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J Neurooncol. 2014 Oct;120(1):1-10. doi: 10.1007/s11060-014-1516-0. Epub 2014 Jul 1.

Living longer with adult high-grade glioma: setting a research agenda for patients and their caregivers.

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  • 1Centre for Palliative Care, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, 41 Victoria Parade, Fitzroy, VIC, 3065, Australia, beth.russell@svha.org.au.


The long-term survival of patients with adult high-grade glioma (HGG) remains poor, but for those who do live longer functional status and neurocognitive ability may be influenced by residual or recurrent tumour, or treatment-related complications. The aim of this review was to examine the current literature regarding the quality of life and experience of patients living longer with adult HGG and their caregivers, with a view to understanding the burden of treatment on patient abilities and deficits over time. Medline, PsychINFO and CINAHL databases were searched for the core concept of HGG in combination with an aspect of quality of long-term survival. Key findings of the 12 included studies were identified and synthesised thematically. There is a paucity of dedicated studies which have investigated the experiences of this cohort. The strength of existing literature is limited by the systematic exclusion of the poorest functioning patients and the under-representation of caregiver perspectives. Discrepancies in how patients view their quality of life were highlighted, despite consistent findings of significant physical and functional impairment. This review confirmed the presence of important differences between patient and caregiver views regarding patient abilities following treatment. Caregiver burden was found to be high, due to multiple dynamic and relentless stressors. The true experience of patients living longer with adult HGG and their caregivers remains unclear, particularly for patients with poorer neurocognitive and functional outcomes. Further research is required to clarify and replicate findings, explore discrepancies between patient and caregiver views, and to specifically investigate how caregiver needs and experiences may evolve over time.

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