Good performance status of long-term disease-free survivors of intracranial gliomas

Lawrence Kleinberg, Kent Wallner, Mark G. Malkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the long-term impact on function of treatment for primary cerebral gliomas, Karnofsky Performance Status, employment history, and memory function were used to evaluate the status of adults who are alive and disease-free more than 1 year after cranial irradiation. Methods and Materials: Of 30 eligible adult patients, seventeen patients had anaplastic astrocytoma, seven had a glioblastoma, four had low grade astrocytoma, one had a mixed glioma, and one had an anaplastic oligodendroglioma. Sixteen patients received partial brain irradiation only, 12 had whole brain irradiation with a partial brain boost, and two had whole brain irradiation only. The total dose ranged from 54-66 Gy, with a fraction size of 1.7-2.0 Gy. Median follow-up was 3.5 years. Eighty-three percent of patients also received adjuvant chemotherapy. Results: Karnofsky Performance Status generally remained stable after the completion of irradiation. Mean Performance status was 84 at the end of irradiation and was unchanged at the time of last follow-up. The actuarial freedom from performance status decline after irradiation was 93% at 5 years. The performance status increased in two patients, both within several months of completing irradiation. Most patients (68%) returned to work after irradiation. Sixty-two percent remained at work 1 year later, and 58% were working at the time of last follow-up. No patient who did not return to work within 4 months of completing irradiation was able to work at a later date. All working patients were employed in a capacity similar to their pre-morbid position. Only one patient, with an intercurrent lung cancer, eventually developed deficits that limited self care. Conclusions: Contrary to previously published reports, long-term glioma survivors maintained a relatively good performance status in the absence of recurrence and did not experience a progressive decline in neuropsychologic function after completion of cranial irradiation. A patient's functional state at the completion of irradiation is a reliable predictor of long-term functional outcome in the absence of recurrence. Although the number of patients in each subgroup is small and no significant differences could be detected, patients treated with partial brain irradiation had a higher and more stable performance status, better memory function, and superior employment history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-133
Number of pages5
JournalInternational journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 30 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain tumor
  • Glioma
  • Karnofsky performance status
  • Radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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