Early surgery in presumed asymptomatic patients with incidental low-grade glioma (ILGG) has been suggested to improve maximal resection rates and overall survival. However, no study has reported on the impact of such preventive treatment on cognitive functioning. The aim of this study was to investigate neuropsychological outcomes in patients with ILGG who underwent preventive surgery.
This was a retrospective analysis of a consecutive series of patients with ILGG who underwent awake surgery and who had presurgical and 3-month postsurgical neuropsychological assessments. Data were normalized into z-scores and regrouped by cognitive domains. Clinicoradiological data, histomolecular profile, and differences in z-scores (Δz-scores) were analyzed.
Forty-seven patients were included (mean age 39.2 ± 11.3 years). Twenty-eight patients (59.6%) underwent supratotal or total resections. All patients were still alive after a mean follow-up of 33.0 ± 30.8 months. Forty-one patients (87.2%) had stable (n = 34, 72.3%) or improved (Δz-score > 1; n = 7, 14.9%) neurocognitive outcomes after surgery. Six patients (12.8%) presented a slight impairment (Δz-score < −1) in at least one cognitive domain. The mean presurgical and postsurgical z-scores were comparable except in the psychomotor speed and attention domain. A significant correlation between presurgical executive functioning and tumor volume was reported, whereas the extent of resection and histomolecular profile did not impact neuropsychological outcomes.
Early surgical treatment in presumed asymptomatic patients with ILGG was associated with stable or improved neuropsychological outcomes in 87.2% of patients at 3 months, with only mild cognitive decline observed in 6 patients. In return, supratotal or total resections were achieved in most patients, and all patients were still alive at the end of the follow-up.