Cognitive functioning and health-related quality of life of long-term survivors with brain metastases up to
21 months after gamma knife radiosurgery.

Neurosurg. 2021;88(5):E396–405. DOI: 10.1093/neuros/nyaa586.
Verhaak E, Schimmel WCM, Gehring K, Hanssens PEJ, Sitskoorn MM.

Survival rates have improved in the past years for patients with brain metastases (BMs).

To evaluate cognitive functioning and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) after Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) in a relatively large sample of long-term survivors.

Data from 38 long-term survivors (assessments available ≥ 12 mo post-GKRS) with, at time of enrollment, 1 to 10 newly diagnosed BMs, expected survival > 3 mo, and Karnofsky Performance Status ≥ 70 were analyzed. Cognitive functioning and HRQoL were assessed pre-GKRS (n = 38) and at 3 (n = 38), 6 (n = 37), 9 (n = 37), 12 (n = 34), 15 (n = 28), and 21 (n = 21) mo post-GKRS. The course of cognitive test performance and of HRQoL over time was analyzed using linear mixed models. Individual changes in cognitive performance and HRQoL from pre-GKRS to 21 mo were determined using reliable change indexes (RCIs) and clinical meaningful cutoffs, respectively.

Cognitive performances and HRQoL of long-term survivors remained stable or improved up to 21 mo after GKRS. Improvements were found for immediate and delayed verbal memory, working memory, information processing speed, and emotional well-being. On the individual level, most patients had stable or improved test performances or HRQoL. For physical well-being only, most patients (47.6%) showed a decline (vs 28.6% improvement or 23.8% no change) from pre-GKRS until 21 mo post-GKRS.

Up to 21 mo after GKRS, cognitive functioning and overall HRQoL improved or remained stable in long-term survivors. In long-term survivors with 1 to 10 BMs, GKRS did not cause (additional) cognitive deteriorations or declines in HRQoL at longer-term follow-up.