Monitoring of Neurocognitive Function in the Care of Patients with Brain Tumors

  • Kyle R. Noll
  • Mariana E. Bradshaw
  • Michael W. Parsons
  • Erica L. Dawson
  • Jennie Rexer
  • Jeffrey S. WefelEmail author
Neuro-oncology (R Soffietti, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Neuro-oncology


Purpose of review

A detailed characterization of the nature of neurocognitive impairment in patients with brain tumors is provided, as well as considerations for clinical practice regarding neuropsychological assessment throughout the disease course.

Recent findings

Neurocognitive impairment is common in patients with brain tumors and may result from the tumor itself, as a consequence of treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, or in association with supportive care medications (e.g., anticonvulsant and pain medications). Serial surveillance of neurocognitive functioning in this population can facilitate medical decision-making and inform recommendations to improve patient daily functioning and quality of life.


Neuropsychological assessment is increasingly recognized as a critical component of the multidisciplinary care of patients with brain tumors and has already had practice-changing effects. Further understanding of genetic risk factors for neurocognitive decline along with the development of novel assessment and intervention strategies may further enhance functioning and general well-being in this patient population.


Brain tumor Glioma Neurocognitive function Quality of life 



Jeffrey S. Wefel is supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01NR014195. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Kyle R. Noll, Mariana E. Bradshaw, Erica L. Dawson, and Jennie Rexer each declare no potential conflict of interest. Michael W. Parsons reports consulting fees from Agios Inc. and Monteris Inc. outside the submitted work. Jeffrey S. Wefel reports personal fees from Abbvie, Bayer, Blueprint Medicines, Magnolia Tejas, Novocure, and Vanquish Oncology, and reports grants from Angiochem, Juno, Novocure, and Roche outside the submitted work.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

All reported studies/experiments with human or animal subjects performed by the authors have been previously published and complied with all applicable ethical standards (including the Helsinki declaration and its amendments, institutional/national research committee standards, and international/national/institutional guidelines).

References and Recommended Reading

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Copyright information

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Kyle R. Noll
    • 1
  • Mariana E. Bradshaw
    • 1
  • Michael W. Parsons
    • 2
  • Erica L. Dawson
    • 3
  • Jennie Rexer
    • 1
  • Jeffrey S. Wefel
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Section of Neuropsychology, Department of Neuro-OncologyThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neuro-Oncology, Psychology Assessment CenterMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral HealthThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  4. 4.Department of Radiation OncologyThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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