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Asgeir S. Jakola, Geirmund Unsgård and Ole Solheim

Object

Outcome following brain tumor operations is often assessed by health professionals using various gross function scales. However, surprisingly little is known about how modern glioma surgery affects quality of life (QOL) as reported by the patients themselves. In the present study the authors aimed to assess changes in QOL after glioma surgery, to explore the relationship between QOL and traditional outcome parameters, and to examine possible predictors of change in QOL.

Methods

Eighty-eight patients with glioma were recruited from among those 16 years or older who had been admitted to the authors' department for brain tumor surgery in the period between January 2007 and December 2009. A 3D ultrasonography–based navigation system was utilized in nearly all operations and functional MR imaging data on eloquent lesions were incorporated into the neuronavigation system. Preoperative scores for QOL (EuroQol 5D [EQ-5D]) and functional status (Karnofsky Performance Scale [KPS]) were obtained. The EQ-5D and KPS scores were subsequently recorded 6 weeks postoperatively, as were responses to a structured interview about new deficits and possible complications.

Results

There was no change in the median EQ-5D indexes following surgery, 0.76 versus 0.75 (p = 0.419). The EQ-5D index value was significantly correlated with the KPS score (p < 0.001; rho = 0.769). The EQ-5D index values and KPS scores improved in 35.2% and 24.1% of cases, were equal in 20.5% and 47.2% of cases, and deteriorated in 44.3% and 28.7%, respectively. Thus, both improvement and deterioration were underestimated by the KPS score as compared with the patient-reported QOL assessment. New motor deficits (p = 0.003), new language deficits (p = 0.035), new unsteadiness and/or ataxia (p = 0.001), occipital lesions (p = 0.019), and no use of ultrasonography for resection control (p = 0.021) were independent predictors of worsening QOL in a multivariate model.

Conclusions

The surgical procedures per se may not significantly alter QOL in the average patient with glioma; however, new deficits have a major undesirable effect on QOL. It seems that the active use of intraoperative ultrasonography may be associated with a preservation of QOL. The EQ-5D seems like a good outcome measure with a strong correlation to traditional variables while offering a more detailed description of outcome.

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Lisa Millgård Sagberg, Ole Solheim and Asgeir S. Jakola

OBJECT

By exploring longitudinal patient-reported health-related quality of life (HRQoL), the authors sought to assess the quality of survival for patients in the 1st year after diagnosis of glioblastoma.

METHODS

Thirty unselected patients ≥ 18 years who underwent primary surgery for glioblastoma in the period 2011–2013 were included. Using the generic HRQoL questionnaire EQ-5D 3L, baseline HRQoL was assessed before surgery and at postoperative follow-up after 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 months.

RESULTS

There was an apparent correlation between deterioration in HRQoL scores and tumor progression. Patients with permanent deterioration in HRQoL early after surgery represented a subgroup with rapid progression and short survival. Both positive and negative changes in HRQoL were more often seen after surgery than after radio- or chemotherapy. Patients with gross-total resection (GTR) reported better and more stable HRQoL. In a multivariable analysis preoperative cognitive symptoms (p = 0.02), preoperative functional status (p = 0.03), and GTR (p = 0.01) were independent predictors of quality of survival (area under the curve for EQ-5D 3L index values).

CONCLUSIONS

The results indicate that progression-free survival is not only a surrogate marker for survival, but also for quality of survival. Quality of survival seems to be associated with GTR, which adds further support for opting for extensive resections in glioblastoma patients with good preoperative functional levels.

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Lisa Millgård Sagberg, Christina Drewes, Asgeir S. Jakola and Ole Solheim

OBJECTIVE

In the absence of practical and reliable prognostic tools in intracranial tumor surgery, decisions regarding patient selection, patient information, and surgical management are usually based on neurosurgeons' clinical judgment, which may be influenced by personal experience and knowledge. The objective of this study was to assess the accuracy of the operating neurosurgeons' predictions about patients' functional levels after intracranial tumor surgery.

METHODS

In a prospective single-center study, the authors included 299 patients who underwent intracranial tumor surgery between 2011 and 2015. The operating neurosurgeons scored their patients' expected functional level at 30 days after surgery using the Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS). The expected KPS score was compared with the observed KPS score at 30 days.

RESULTS

The operating neurosurgeons underestimated their patients' future functional level in 15% of the cases, accurately estimated their functional levels in 23%, and overestimated their functional levels in 62%. When dichotomizing functional levels at 30 days into dependent or independent functional level categories (i.e., KPS score < 70 or ≥ 70), the predictive accuracy was 80%, and the surgeons underestimated and overestimated in 5% and 15% of the cases, respectively. In a dichotomization based on the patients' ability to perform normal activities (i.e., KPS score < 80 or ≥ 80), the predictive accuracy was 57%, and the surgeons underestimated and overestimated in 3% and 40% of cases, respectively. In a binary regression model, the authors found no predictors of underestimation, whereas postoperative complications were an independent predictor of overestimation (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Operating neurosurgeons often overestimate their patients' postoperative functional level, especially when it comes to the ability to perform normal activities at 30 days. This tendency to overestimate surgical outcomes may have implications for clinical decision making and for the accuracy of patient information.

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Paolo Ferroli and Morgan Broggi

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Victor E. Staartjes, Morgan Broggi, Costanza Maria Zattra, Flavio Vasella, Julia Velz, Silvia Schiavolin, Carlo Serra, Jiri Bartek Jr., Alexander Fletcher-Sandersjöö, Petter Förander, Darius Kalasauskas, Mirjam Renovanz, Florian Ringel, Konstantin R. Brawanski, Johannes Kerschbaumer, Christian F. Freyschlag, Asgeir S. Jakola, Kristin Sjåvik, Ole Solheim, Bawarjan Schatlo, Alexandra Sachkova, Hans Christoph Bock, Abdelhalim Hussein, Veit Rohde, Marike L. D. Broekman, Claudine O. Nogarede, Cynthia M. C. Lemmens, Julius M. Kernbach, Georg Neuloh, Oliver Bozinov, Niklaus Krayenbühl, Johannes Sarnthein, Paolo Ferroli, Luca Regli, Martin N. Stienen and FEBNS

OBJECTIVE

Decision-making for intracranial tumor surgery requires balancing the oncological benefit against the risk for resection-related impairment. Risk estimates are commonly based on subjective experience and generalized numbers from the literature, but even experienced surgeons overestimate functional outcome after surgery. Today, there is no reliable and objective way to preoperatively predict an individual patient’s risk of experiencing any functional impairment.

METHODS

The authors developed a prediction model for functional impairment at 3 to 6 months after microsurgical resection, defined as a decrease in Karnofsky Performance Status of ≥ 10 points. Two prospective registries in Switzerland and Italy were used for development. External validation was performed in 7 cohorts from Sweden, Norway, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. Age, sex, prior surgery, tumor histology and maximum diameter, expected major brain vessel or cranial nerve manipulation, resection in eloquent areas and the posterior fossa, and surgical approach were recorded. Discrimination and calibration metrics were evaluated.

RESULTS

In the development (2437 patients, 48.2% male; mean age ± SD: 55 ± 15 years) and external validation (2427 patients, 42.4% male; mean age ± SD: 58 ± 13 years) cohorts, functional impairment rates were 21.5% and 28.5%, respectively. In the development cohort, area under the curve (AUC) values of 0.72 (95% CI 0.69–0.74) were observed. In the pooled external validation cohort, the AUC was 0.72 (95% CI 0.69–0.74), confirming generalizability. Calibration plots indicated fair calibration in both cohorts. The tool has been incorporated into a web-based application available at https://neurosurgery.shinyapps.io/impairment/.

CONCLUSIONS

Functional impairment after intracranial tumor surgery remains extraordinarily difficult to predict, although machine learning can help quantify risk. This externally validated prediction tool can serve as the basis for case-by-case discussions and risk-to-benefit estimation of surgical treatment in the individual patient.