Background Brain tumours often cause deficits across multiple cognitive domains. Changes in cognitive function may occur as a result of tumour, treatment or the psychological effects of having cancer. The commonly used mini-mental state examination (MMSE) can be insensitive to cognitive dysfunction and poorly responsive to treatment. The aim of this study was to examine the utility of the Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination (ACE), which includes the MMSE, in people with brain tumours.
Methods Cognitive assessment was performed using the ACE on 155 people with brain tumours (133 WHO Grade III or IV and 22 WHO Grade I or II). Assessment was performed prior to neuro-surgery and then again after 3 and 6 months.
Results Patients found the ACE tolerable and it was a more sensitive test of cognitive dysfunction than the MMSE revealing significant baseline cognitive impairment with 42/155 achieving a score ≤82/100 27%) compared to 10/155 achieving a score of ≤24/30 in the MMSE. Deficits were most commonly identified by tests of verbal fluency and visuospatial abilities. Cognitive impairment was greater in patients with WHO Grade III or IV tumours.
Conclusions The utility of the ACE has not been reported in this population. It was well tolerated and is a more sensitive test of cognition than the MMSE.
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