OBJECTIVE: Approximately 7%-50% of children with medulloblastoma (MB) develop postoperative cerebellar mutism syndrome (pCMS). pCMS has a short-term negative impact on intelligence, but effects on long-term outcomes are contradictory. The aim of this study was to assess long-term effects of pCMS in MB patients on aspects of intelligence quotient (IQ) and its perioperative risk factors.
METHODS: In this single-center retrospective cohort study, 31 children were included (14 pCMS). Perioperative risk factors included brainstem invasion, vermis incision, hydrocephalus, tumor size, severity of pCMS, neurological symptoms, mean body temperature (BT) on days 1-4 post surgery, and age at resection. Age-appropriate Wechsler Intelligence tests were assessed at least 2 years after tumor resection.
RESULTS: Mean interval between tumor resection and neuropsychological evaluation was 3.9 years in pCMS and 4 years and 11 months in the no-pCMS group. No significant differences in IQ scores were found between groups. The pCMS group had a clinically relevant difference of 10 points when compared to age norms on verbal IQ (VIQ). Bilateral pyramidal and swallowing problems were risk factors for lower performance. In the overall group, tumor size, younger age at surgery, and raised mean BT were negatively correlated with aspects of IQ.
CONCLUSIONS: We found a clinically significant reduction of VIQ in the pCMS patient group. pCMS patients with a larger tumor size, younger age at surgery, a higher mean BT in the first days after surgery, bilateral pyramidal symptoms, and swallowing problems 10 days post surgery are more at risk for VIQ deficits at long-term.