Fatigue and Associated Symptoms in Patients with a Primary Brain Tumor

Fatigue and Associated Symptoms in Patients with a Primary Brain Tumor

Author Info

Corresponding Author
Julia Day
Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh


Purpose: To determine the prevalence and predictors of fatigue in clinically stable primary brain tumor patients, we used objective and subjective measures and a cross-sectional design. Methods: Eighty-five brain tumor patients completed self-report measures of fatigue, sleep disturbance, mood and growth hormone deficiency. Objective measures of sleep, cognition and neurological function were carried out. Comparisons were made between patients with no-mild, moderate and severe fatigue. Results: Sixty-seven per cent of patients (n=57) were experiencing moderate or severe fatigue at the time of assessment. Statistically significant differences between no-mild, moderate and severe fatigue groups were found when examining percentage daytime activity (p=0.035), processing speed (p = 0.0006), anxiety (p=0.008), depression (p<0.0001), neurological function (p<0.0001), growth hormone deficiency (p<0.0001) and epileptic drug type (p=0.011). Memory, executive function and verbal fluency were not found to significantly differ across groups. Sleep duration and efficiency were not correlated with fatigue. Using regression analysis, anxiety and neurological function predictors were independently found to be associated with fatigue (p=0.017 and p=0.0003 respectively). Conclusions: Findings suggest neurological function and anxiety independently contribute to fatigue in stable brain tumor patients. A ‘neurological model’ may offer a better understanding of fatigue in the brain tumor population than a ‘cancer model’. This study supports the recommendation of a core data set for assessing fatigue that includes a measure of neurological function, alongside patient perceptions of causation (physical and mental fatigue). This may potentially be helpful in selecting treatment options or in interpretation of drug trials of fatigue.

Article Info

Article Type
Research Article
Publication history
Received: Thu 01, Aug 2019
Accepted: Mon 26, Aug 2019
Published: Wed 20, Nov 2019
© 2023 Julia Day. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Hosting by Science Repository.
DOI: 10.31487/j.ACO.2019.03.04