Examination of risk factors for intellectual and academic outcomes following treatment for pediatric medulloblastoma

Jane E. Schreiber*, James G. Gurney, Shawna L. Palmer, Johnnie K. Bass, Mingjuan Wang, Si Chen, Hui Zhang, Michelle Swain, Mary L. Chapieski, Melanie J. Bonner, Donald J. Mabbott, Sarah J. Knight, Carol L. Armstrong, Robyn Boyle, Amar Gajjar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Background The aim of this study was to prospectively examine the effects of hearing loss and posterior fossa syndrome (PFS), in addition to age at diagnosis and disease risk status, on change in intellectual and academic outcomes following diagnosis and treatment in a large sample of medulloblastoma patients. Methods Data from at least 2 cognitive and academic assessments were available from 165 patients (ages 3-21 years) treated with surgery, risk-adapted craniospinal irradiation, and 4 courses of chemotherapy with stem cell support. Patients underwent serial evaluation of cognitive and academic functioning from baseline up to 5 years post diagnosis. Results Serious hearing loss, PFS, younger age at diagnosis, and high-risk status were all significant risk factors for decline in intellectual and academic skills. Serious hearing loss and PFS independently predicted below-average estimated mean intellectual ability at 5 years post diagnosis. Patients with high-risk medulloblastoma and young age at diagnosis (<7 years) exhibited the largest drop in mean scores for intellectual and academic outcomes. Conclusions Despite a significant decline over time, intellectual and academic outcomes remained within the average range at 5 years post diagnosis for the majority of patients. Future studies should determine if scores remain within the average range at time points further out from treatment. Patients at heightened risk should be closely monitored and provided with recommendations for appropriate interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1129-1136
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Academic
  • Cognitive
  • Hearing
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Posterior fossa syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cancer Research


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