Executive summary

Neurocognitive outcomes were evaluated in 103 pediatric brain tumor patients (proton RT n = 26, photon RT n = 30, surgery n = 47) before and after treatment. Comparison of neurocognitive outcomes following different treatment modalities were analyzed over four years after treatment completion. Neurocognitive outcomes after RT (proton and photon with >90% additional surgery) and surgery showed no significant differences in any neurocognitive domain.

Long-term follow up over four years after photon RT showed a decrease in non-verbal intelligence (-9.6%; p = 0.01) and visuospatial construction (-14.9%; p = 0.02). After surgery, there was a decline in non-verbal intelligence (-10.7%; p = 0.01) and processing speed (14.9%; p = 0.002). No differences in neurocognitive outcomes between RT and surgical cohorts were not identified suggesting that modern radiation therapy does not affect cognition as much as in the past. There were no alterations in long-term neurocognitive abilities after proton RT, whereas decline of processing speed, non-verbal intelligence, and visuospatial abilities were observed after both photon RT and surgery.

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