Neurocognition in adults with intracranial tumors: Does location really matter?

Charlotte Sleurs*, Catharina M L Zegers, Inge Compter, Jeanette Dijkstra, Monique H M E Anten, Alida A Postma, Olaf E M G Schijns, Ann Hoeben, Margriet M Sitskoorn, Wouter De Baene, Laurien De Roeck, Stefan Sunaert, Wouter Van Elmpt, Maarten Lambrecht, Daniëlle B P Eekers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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As preservation of cognitive functioning increasingly becomes important in the light of ameliorated survival after intracranial tumor treatments, identification of eloquent brain areas would enable optimization of these treatments.


This cohort study enrolled adult intracranial tumor patients who received neuropsychological assessments pre-irradiation, estimating processing speed, verbal fluency and memory. Anatomical magnetic resonance imaging scans were used for multivariate voxel-wise lesion-symptom predictions of the test scores (corrected for age, gender, educational level, histological subtype, surgery, and tumor volume). Potential effects of histological and molecular subtype and corresponding WHO grades on the risk of cognitive impairment were investigated using Chi square tests. P-values were adjusted for multiple comparisons (p < .001 and p < .05 for voxel- and cluster-level, resp.).


A cohort of 179 intracranial tumor patients was included [aged 19-85 years, median age (SD) = 58.46 (14.62), 50% females]. In this cohort, test-specific impairment was detected in 20-30% of patients. Higher WHO grade was associated with lower processing speed, cognitive flexibility and delayed memory in gliomas, while no acute surgery-effects were found. No grading, nor surgery effects were found in meningiomas. The voxel-wise analyses showed that tumor locations in left temporal areas and right temporo-parietal areas were related to verbal memory and processing speed, respectively.


Patients with intracranial tumors affecting the left temporal areas and right temporo-parietal areas might specifically be vulnerable for lower verbal memory and processing speed. These specific patients at-risk might benefit from early-stage interventions. Furthermore, based on future validation studies, imaging-informed surgical and radiotherapy planning could further be improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-629
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Adult
  • Brain Neoplasms/complications
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Glioma/pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
  • Male
  • Meningeal Neoplasms
  • Neuropsychological Tests


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