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Cognitive and Academic Outcome After Benign or Malignant Cerebellar Tumor in Children

Callu, Delphine PhD*; Viguier, Delphine MD*; Laroussinie, Françoise PA*; Puget, Stéphanie MD; Boddaert, Nathalie MD; Kieffer, Virginie PA‡ §; Piana, Hélène PA; Escolano, Sylvie PhD; Renier, Dominique MD; Sainte-Rose, Christian MD; Grill, Jacques MD, PhD; Dellatolas, Georges MD, PhD* ∥

Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology: December 2009 - Volume 22 - Issue 4 - p 270-278
doi: 10.1097/WNN.0b013e3181bf2d4c
Original Studies

Objective To examine the impact of malignancy and location of the cerebellar tumor on motor, cognitive, and psychologic outcome.

Background Although many studies focus on long-term outcome after cerebellar tumor treatment in childhood, the impact of its precise location remains unclear.

Patients and Methods Children, aged from 6 to 13 years, with a cerebellar malignant tumor (MT; MT group, n=20) or a cerebellar benign tumor (BT; BT group, n=19) were examined at least 6 months after the end of treatment using the international cooperative ataxia rating scale, the Purdue pegboard for manual skill assessment and the age-adapted Weschler scale. Structural changes in brain anatomy were evaluated and parents and teachers answered 2 independent questionnaires.

Results Parents and teachers reported high rate of learning and academic difficulties, but without any difference with respect to the type of tumor. However, children with cerebellar MT showed increased cognitive and motor difficulties compared with children with cerebellar BT. Cerebellar signs at clinical examination and manual skill impairment were strongly associated with cognitive difficulties. Both motor and cognitive impairments were found to be associated with extension of the lesion to the dentate nuclei.

Conclusions Dentate nuclei lesions are major risk factors of motor and cognitive impairments in both cerebellar BT and MT.

*Laboratory of Psychology and Cognitive Neurosciences, University Paris Descartes, CNRS UMR 8189, Boulogne-Billancourt

Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris

§Hôpital National de Saint-Maurice, Saint-Maurice

Institut Gustave Roussy

Inserm U780, Villejuif, France

Reprints: Delphine Callu, PhD, Laboratoire de psychologie et de neurosciences cognitives, Institut de Psychologie, Université Paris Descartes, CNRS UMR 8189, 71 avenue Edouard Vaillant, 92100 Boulogne-Billancourt, France (e-mail:

DC was supported by grants from Fondation de France and Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale. This study was supported by a grant from Fondation de France and in part by a grant from Fondation Roche.

Received for publication February 5, 2009

accepted August 30, 2009

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.