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Abstract

Low-grade gliomas frequently are associated with epilepsy. The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of epilepsy and antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment on cognitive functioning and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in these patients. One hundred fifty-six patients without clinical or radiological signs of tumor recurrence for at least 1 year after histological diagnosis and with an epilepsy burden (based on seizure frequency and AED use) ranging from none to severe were compared with healthy controls. The association between epilepsy burden and cognition/HRQOL was also investigated. Eighty-six percent of the patients had epilepsy and 50% of those using AEDs actually were seizure-free. Compared with healthy controls, glioma patients had significant reductions in information processing speed, psychomotor function, attentional functioning, verbal and working memory, executive functioning, and HRQOL. The increase in epilepsy burden that was associated with significant reductions in all cognitive domains except for attentional and memory functioning could primarily be attributed to the use of AEDs, whereas the decline in HRQOL could be ascribed to the lack of complete seizure control. In conclusion, low-grade glioma patients suffer from a number of neuropsychological and psychological problems that are aggravated by the severity of epilepsy and by the intensity of the treatment.