Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected cancer services. Our objective was to determine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on decision making and the resulting outcomes for patients with newly diagnosed or recurrent intracranial tumors.

Methods: We performed a multicenter prospective study of all adult patients discussed in weekly neuro-oncology and skull base multidisciplinary team meetings who had a newly diagnosed or recurrent intracranial (excluding pituitary) tumor between 01 April and 31 May 2020. All patients had at least 30-day follow-up data. Descriptive statistical reporting was used.

Results: There were 1357 referrals for newly diagnosed or recurrent intracranial tumors across 15 neuro-oncology centers. Of centers with all intracranial tumors, a change in initial management was reported in 8.6% of cases (n = 104/1210). Decisions to change the management plan reduced over time from a peak of 19% referrals at the start of the study to 0% by the end of the study period. Changes in management were reported in 16% (n = 75/466) of cases previously recommended for surgery and 28% of cases previously recommended for chemotherapy (n = 20/72). The reported SARS-CoV-2 infection rate was similar in surgical and non-surgical patients (2.6% vs. 2.4%, P > .9).

Conclusions: Disruption to neuro-oncology services in the UK caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was most marked in the first month, affecting all diagnoses. Patients considered for chemotherapy were most affected. In those recommended surgical treatment this was successfully completed. Longer-term outcome data will evaluate oncological treatments received by these patients and overall survival.


© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press, the Society for Neuro-Oncology and the European Association of Neuro-Oncology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com

Cite as

Fountain, D., Piper, R., Poon, M., Solomou, G., Brennan, P., Chowdhury, Y., Colombo, F., Elmoslemany, T., Ewbank, F., Grundy, P., Hasan, M., Hilling, M., Hutchinson, P., Karabatsou, K., Kolias, A., McSorley, N., Millward, C., Phang, I., Plaha, P., Price, S., Rominiyi, O., Sage, W., Shumon, S., Silva, I., Smith, S., Surash, S., Thomson, S., Lau, J., Watts, C. & Jenkinson, M. 2021, 'CovidNeuroOnc: A UK multicenter, prospective cohort study of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the neuro-oncology service', Neuro-Oncology Advances, 3(1), article no: vdab014. https://doi.org/10.1093/noajnl/vdab014

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Last updated: 02 November 2022
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