Choosing the tumoral epilepsy surgery candidate

Authors

  • Sylvain Rheims,

    1. Department of Functional Neurology and Epileptology, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Lyon, France
    2. INSERM U1028/CNRS UMR5292, Translational and Integrative Group in Epilepsy Research, Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, Lyon, France
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  • François Ducray,

    1. Department of Neuro-Oncology, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Lyon, France
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  • Philippe Ryvlin

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Functional Neurology and Epileptology, Hospices Civils de Lyon, Lyon, France
    2. INSERM U1028/CNRS UMR5292, Translational and Integrative Group in Epilepsy Research, Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, Lyon, France
    • Address correspondence to Philippe Ryvlin, Department of Functional Neurology and Epileptology, 59 Boulevard Pinel, 69677 Bron Cedex, France. E-mail: ryvlin@cermep.fr

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Summary

The management of epilepsy is an essential clinical issue in many patients with brain tumors. Tumoral epilepsy is often drug resistant and is associated with poor quality of life. Surgery represents a key therapeutic option in the management of patients with refractory tumoral epilepsy, with high rates of postoperative seizure freedom, especially when gross total resection can be performed. The selection of surgical candidates first requires extrapolation of the presumed underlying pathology and its potential for malignant transformation from clinical and imaging data, especially MRI characteristics. These data determine the decision for surgery, as well as its timing and technical aspects in relation to the risk of postoperative deficit. In glioneuronal tumors, where seizures are often drug-resistant and risk of malignant transformation is very low, epilepsy surgery is usually recommended to alleviate disabling seizures and side effects of antiepileptic drugs. However, the risk of postoperative deficit may outweigh potential benefits of surgery in tumors located within eloquent cortex. This issue is particularly relevant for glioneuronal tumors located within the dominant mesial temporal structures in patients in whom seizure control might require additional hippocampectomy, associated with a high risk of memory decline. In contrast, in patients with low-grade gliomas or aggressive brain neoplasms, both the decision to perform surgery and selection of the best surgical approach primarily rely on the oncologic imperative rather than epileptologic considerations. In these patients, the extent of tumor resection correlates with improved survival, progression-free survival, as well as with the chances of postoperative seizure control.

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