Cognitive dysfunction in children with brain tumors at diagnosis

Margelisch, Katja; Studer, Martina; Ritter, Barbara; Steinlin, Maja; Leibundgut, Kurt; Heinks Maldonado, Theda (2015). Cognitive dysfunction in children with brain tumors at diagnosis. Pediatric blood & cancer, 62(10), pp. 1805-1812. Wiley-Liss 10.1002/pbc.25596

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Background: Survivors of brain tumors have a high risk for a wide range of cognitive problems. These dysfunctions are caused by the lesion itself and its surgical removal, as well as subsequent treatments (chemo- and/or radiation therapy). Multiple recent studies have indicated that children with brain tumors (BT) might already exhibit cognitive problems at diagnosis, i.e., before the start of any medical treatment. The aim of the present study was to
investigate the baseline neuropsychological profile in children with BT compared to children with an oncological diagnosis not involving the central nervous system (CNS).
Methods: Twenty children with BT and 27 children with an oncological disease without involvement of the CNS (age range: 6.1 to 16.9 years) were evaluated with an extensive battery of neuropsychological tests tailored to the patient’s age. Furthermore, the child and his/her parent(s) completed self-report questionnaires about emotional functioning and quality of life. In both groups, tests were administered before any therapeutic intervention such as
surgery, chemotherapy or irradiation. Groups were comparable with regard to age, gender and socioeconomic status.
Results: Compared to the control group, patients with BTs performed significantly worse in tests of working memory, verbal memory and attention (effect sizes between 0.28 and 0.47). In contrast, the areas of perceptual reasoning, processing speed and verbal comprehension were preserved at the time of measurement.
Conclusion: Our results highlight the need for cognitive interventions early in the treatment process in order to minimize or prevent academic difficulties as patients return to school.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Paediatric Medicine
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Margelisch, Katja, Studer, Martina (A), Ritter, Barbara, Steinlin, Maja, Leibundgut, Kurt, Heinks Maldonado, Theda


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology






[UNSPECIFIED] Beatrice Borer Stiftung für krebskranke Kinder




Anette van Dorland

Date Deposited:

12 Jun 2015 09:37

Last Modified:

29 Mar 2023 23:34

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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