Understanding cognitive functioning in glioma patients: The relevance of IDH-mutation status and functional connectivity

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INTRODUCTION: Cognitive deficits occur frequently in diffuse glioma patients, but are limitedly understood. An important marker for survival in these patients is isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutation (IDH-mut). Patients with IDH-mut glioma have a better prognosis but more often suffer from epilepsy than patients with IDH-wildtype (IDH-wt) glioma, who are generally older and more often have cognitive deficits. We investigated whether global brain functional connectivity differs between patients with IDH-mut and IDH-wt glioma, and whether this measure reflects variations in cognitive functioning in these subpopulations beyond the associated differences in age and presence of epilepsy.

METHODS: We recorded magnetoencephalography and tested cognitive functioning in 54 diffuse glioma patients (31 IDH-mut, 23 IDH-wt). Global functional connectivity between 78 atlas regions spanning the entire cortex was calculated in two frequency bands (theta and alpha). Group differences in global functional connectivity were tested, as was their association with cognitive functioning, controlling for age, education, and presence of epilepsy.

RESULTS: Patients with IDH-wt glioma had lower functional connectivity in the alpha band than patients with IDH-mut glioma (p = 0.040, corrected for age and presence of epilepsy). Lower alpha band functional connectivity was associated with poorer cognitive performance (p < 0.034), corrected for age, education, and presence of epilepsy.

CONCLUSION: Global functional connectivity is lower in patients with IDH-wt diffuse glioma compared to patients with IDH-mut diffuse glioma. Moreover, having lower functional alpha connectivity relates to poorer cognitive performance in patients with diffuse glioma, regardless of age, education, and presence of epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain and Behavior
Issue number4
Early online date26 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • cognition
  • diffuse glioma
  • isocitrate dehydrogenase
  • magnetoencephalography

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