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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2013 Nov 15;87(4):705-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2013.07.037. Epub 2013 Sep 21.

Self-reported cognitive outcomes in patients with brain metastases before and after radiation therapy.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Medical School Hannover, Hannover, Germany.



Patients with brain metastases may experience treatment-related cognitive deficits. In this study, we prospectively assessed the self-reported cognitive abilities of patients with brain metastases from any solid primary cancer before and after irradiation of the brain.


The treatment group (TG) consisted of adult patients (n=50) with brain metastases who received whole or partial irradiation of the brain without having received prior radiation therapy (RT). The control group (CG) consisted of breast cancer patients (n=27) without cranial involvement who were treated with adjuvant RT. Patients were recruited between May 2008 and December 2010. Self-reported cognitive abilities were acquired before RT and 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after irradiation. The information regarding the neurocognitive status was collected by use of the German questionnaires for self-perceived deficits in attention (FEDA) and subjectively experienced everyday memory performance (FEAG).


The baseline data showed a high proportion of self-perceived neurocognitive deficits in both groups. A comparison between the TG and the CG regarding the course of self-reported outcomes after RT showed significant between-group differences for the FEDA scales 2 and 3: fatigue and retardation of daily living activities (P=.002) and decrease in motivation (P=.032) with an increase of attention deficits in the TG, but not in the CG. There was a trend towards significance in FEDA scale 1: distractibility and retardation of mental processes (P=.059) between the TG and the CG. The FEAG assessment presented no significant differences. An additional subgroup analysis within the TG was carried out. FEDA scale 3 showed significant differences in the time-related progress between patients with whole-brain RT and those receiving hypofractionated stereotactic RT (P=.025), with less decrease in motivation in the latter group.


Self-reported attention declined in patients with brain metastases after RT to the brain, whereas it remained relatively stable in breast cancer patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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