Purpose: Effects of tumor location on cognitive performance of patients with brain tumor are controversial: some studies reported higher risks related to supratentorial locations, some to infratentorial locations, and still others did not find any differences. We aimed to address this issue by comparing school-aged children with supratentorial or infratentorial tumor with respect not only to cognitive outcomes but also to the associations between core cognitive domains and academic abilities. Methods: 32 children with infratentorial tumor and 22 with supratentorial tumor participated in the study. To detect relationships among cognitive domains, we tested which neuropsychological variable(s) predicted academic skills, controlling for the effects of radiotherapy and time since diagnosis. Results: Radiotherapy and time since diagnosis, but not tumor location, predicted cognitive outcomes. Radiotherapy negatively influenced attention and executive functioning, as well as reading speed and arithmetic operations accuracy. Unexpectedly, longer time since diagnosis was associated with improvement in attention and reading speed. Tumor location showed an effect on the relationships between core cognitive domains and academic skills: verbal and visual-spatial memory influenced reading and mathematical performance in supratentorial patients; in infratentorial patients, an only effect of visual-spatial memory on mathematical performance was detected. Conclusions: Tumor location seems not to influence cognitive performance, while radiotherapy constitutes a key risk factor for cognitive impairment. Attentional and reading abilities may improve over time, possibly due to the weakening of cancer care effects. Different patterns of cognitive associations seem to characterize supratentorial and infratentorial patients, probably associated with different neuroplastic reorganization processes after tumor occurrence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Clinical Neurology