Aim of this study was to describe longitudinal assessments of handgrip strength, strength of thigh muscles, and self-reported physical performance in patients with glioblastoma after neurosurgical intervention undergoing chemoradiation.
Strength testing was performed in 24 Austrian glioblastoma patients (m:f = 19:5, 52 ± 14a, BMI = 26 ± 3 kg/m²) at baseline and follow up after chemoradiation (interval between baseline and follow up = 14 ± 9 weeks). Isokinetic testing of knee extension/flexion was performed by using a Biodex 3 dynamometer. Handgrip strength was measured by using a Jamar hand-dynamometer. Physical performance was assessed by using the subscales “physical functioning” and “role physical” of the SF-36 Health Survey.
Peak torque of knee extensors (peak torque) were clearly lower than expected for age- and sex-related values (p < 0.0001). In comparison with age- and sex-related reference values, deficits of “role physical” (p < 0.0001) and “physical functioning” (p = 0.010) were found.
Effects of measurements of muscle strength on “physical functioning” were significant (peak torque:p < 0.001; handgrip strength:p < 0.001).
No significant change could be detected after follow up for peak torque (p = 0.337), handgrip strength (p = 0.995), “physical functioning” (p = 0.824), and “role physical” (0.594).
In this study, notable deficits especially in muscular strength of thigh muscles and general physical performance of patients with glioblastoma have been found before and after chemoradiation. Reduced muscle strength and impaired self-reported physical performance seem to be clinically relevant functional deficits in (Austrian) glioblastoma patients. Therefore, rehabilitation and supportive care should also include options to increase muscle strength.