J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 67:358-363 doi:10.1136/jnnp.67.3.358
  • Review

Quality of life in patients with stable disease after surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy for malignant brain tumour

  1. Anna R Giovagnoli
  1. Department of Neurology, National Neurological Institute C. Besta, Milano, Italy
  1. Dr Anna Rita Giovagnoli, II Divisione Neurologica, Istituto Nazionale Neurologico “C Besta”, Via Celoria 11, 20133 Milano, Italy. Telephone 0039 02 23 94 294; fax 0039 02 70638217.
  • Received 11 June 1998
  • Revised 19 March 1999
  • Accepted 24 March 1999


OBJECTIVES to evaluate quality of life in patients with malignant brain tumour with stable disease after combined treatments in comparison to patients with other chronic neurological conditions, and to explore the relation of quality of life to clinical, pathological, affective and cognitive factors.

METHODS fifty seven patients who were stable after surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy and 24 controls with spastic paraparesis, peripheral neuropathies, myasthenia, ataxia, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis, were studied. Patients were evaluated by functional living index-cancer, Karnofsky performance status, activity of daily living, self-rating depression scale, state-trait anxiety inventory, and tests for cognitive abilities.

RESULTS separate Mann-Whitney test comparisons did not show any difference in measures of health related quality of life (functional living index-cancer), autonomy in daily life (activity of daily living), or mood between tumour and control patients, although the first had slower mental speed and worse attention. Seventy three per cent of patients with brain tumour and 58% of the control patients continued or resumed previous work activity. Quality of life was significantly associated with depression, state anxiety, and performance status in the patients with brain tumour, whereas in control patients, state anxiety was the only factor related to quality of life.

CONCLUSIONS after intensive multimodality treatments, selected patients with brain tumour with stable disease may have satisfactory quality of life that may be not worse than in patients with other chronic neurological illnesses. During the period of stable disease, depressed mood, possibly a reaction to impaired physical and cognitive performance, seems to play a major role in determining quality of life.


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