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Preoperative executive functioning impairments in patients with a meningioma: does a frontal location matter?

Patients with meningiomas frequently exhibit impairments in executive functioning. There are few studies specifically examining the role of frontal meningioma localization in executive functioning impairments. This study examines whether frontally located meningiomas are specifically associated with executive functioning impairments in a large sample of meningioma patients before treatment, using an axis-wise and lobe-based approach to meningioma localization. We retrospectively examined cognitive performances in 353 patients with frontal, frontally-involved and non-frontal meningiomas on a battery of tests including tests of executive functioning. We applied an axis-based approach to meningioma location, in addition to qualitative lobe-based localization. We examined the association between meningioma coordinates on an anterior-posterior axis and continuous cognitive performance scores in univariate correlations and linear regression analyses. We also examined the association between meningioma coordinates on an anterior-posterior axis with cognitive impairments in multivariable logistic regression analyses. Meningioma position on the anterior-posterior axis was only univariately associated with mean performance on the Stroop test Interference ratio and Symbol Digit Coding task. There was no (multivariable) association with impairments on tests of executive or non-executive domains. Increased odds of impairment on executive functioning tasks were associated with left-localization (Verbal Fluency) and larger meningioma volumes (Shifting Attention). We did not find a specific relation between a frontal meningioma location and executive functioning impairments, which may be explained by widespread organization of executive functioning throughout the brain, diffuse cognitive effects of the mass of meningiomas, functional reorganization due to neuroplasticity, or functional involvement of less-anteriorly located frontal areas.

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