A Prospective Study of Longitudinal Risks of Cognitive Deficit for People Undergoing Glioblastoma Surgery Using a Tablet Computer Cognition Testing Battery: Towards Personalized Understanding of Risks to Cognitive Function.


Glioblastoma and the surgery to remove it pose high risks to the cognitive function of patients. Little reliable data exist about these risks, especially postoperatively before radiotherapy. We hypothesized that cognitive deficit risks detected before surgery will be exacerbated by surgery in patients with glioblastoma undergoing maximal treatment regimens. We used longitudinal electronic cognitive testing perioperatively to perform a prospective, longitudinal, observational study of 49 participants with glioblastoma undergoing surgery. Before surgery (A1), the participant risk of deficit in 5/6 cognitive domains was increased compared to normative data. Of these, the risks to Attention (OR = 31.19), Memory (OR = 97.38), and Perception (OR = 213.75) were markedly increased. These risks significantly increased in the early period after surgery (A2) when patients were discharged home or seen in the clinic to discuss histology results. For participants tested at 4-6 weeks after surgery (A3) before starting radiotherapy, there was evidence of risk reduction towards A1. The observed risks of cognitive deficit were independent of patient-specific, tumour-specific, and surgery-specific co-variates. These results reveal a timeframe of natural recovery in the first 4-6 weeks after surgery based on personalized deficit profiles for each participant. Future research in this period could investigate personalized rehabilitation tools to aid the recovery process found.