About 20-40% of patients with brain tumor have seizures; all of whom must be treated with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) that can cause side effects which may influence quality of life (QoL). However, little data are available regarding the weight of epilepsy on QoL in brain tumor (BT) patients, despite the fact that epilepsy is considered the most important risk factor for long-term disability in this patient population. Aim of this study is to explore the weight of epilepsy in BT patients, and to identify which factors might contribute to their epilepsy burden, as expressed by them only at their first visit in a specialized epilepsy center, in order to have a snapshot for that moment in their care cycle. We reviewed medical charts and results from a battery of tests (routinely given at our outpatient center), administered to 100 consecutive BTRE patients at their first visit, followed from 2007 to 2010. Our results reveal: (1) neurological performances and global neurocognitive status were not influenced by factors related to neoplastic disease or to epilepsy (2) side effects, cognitive deficits, and QoL concerns, as well as patients' perception of these, were significantly related to polytherapy, especially in patients who had been taking AEDs for a period longer that 6 months (3) the seizure number did not influence patients' QoL. We found that the weight of epilepsy in BTRE patients was related to AED therapy. Our study highlights the fact that epilepsy in our patients adds a significant burden, and suggests the need to give the proper attention to patients' concerns regarding the challenges that this pathology might present. Nevertheless, future studies could be designed with a follow-up period and with a patient stratification in order to better understand the weight of epilepsy for these patients.
We performed a case series analysis to evaluate the effects of levetiracetam (LEV) monotherapy on seizures, adverse events, cognitive functioning and quality of life (QoL) in patients with brain tumor-related epilepsy (BTRE). We also explored the possible effects of systemic therapies on the efficacy of LEV. Twenty-nine patients were followed (13 female, 16 male; age 24-75 years) with 12 months of follow-up. Patients were evaluated by QoL and neuropsychological tests. At final follow-up, mean LEV dosage was 1991.4 mg/day. Among patients who reached the final follow-up of 12 months (n = 15), 1 patient had ?50% reduction of seizure frequency (SF), and 14/15 were seizure free. The difference in presence/absence of seizures between baseline and final follow-up was significant (p < 0.001). Responder rate was 100%. We observed five side-effects: four mild (reversible) and one severe. Logistic regression revealed that chemotherapy and radiotherapy did not affect the efficacy of LEV in seizure outcome (p = 0.999). The following statistically significant observations emerged by tests evaluation: less worry about seizures, effects of antiepileptic, and ability to maintain social functions. Our data suggest that seizure occurrence can be an important warning sign that the clinician should heed throughout the duration of the illness. Patients with BTRE represent a unique patient population that presents difficulties regarding management of two very different pathologies: epilepsy on the one hand, and brain tumor on the other. Our data indicate that LEV, in patients with BTRE, is safe and efficacious, with positive impact on QoL.
The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the effects of levetiracetam monotherapy on seizure control, quality of life and neurocognitive performance in patients with brain tumor-related epilepsy. We present here preliminary data from 18 patients with follow-up of 6 months. We evaluated seizure frequency at baseline. We used administered Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE), Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), Barthel index (BI), QOLIE 31P (V2), EORTC QLQ-C30 and Adverse Events Profile. After 6 months, 16 patients were seizure free (88.9%), 2 (11.1%) had reduction in seizure frequency >50%. Compared to baseline, we observed a worsening of performance (KPS p = 0.011; BI = 0.008) and global lower cognitive performance (MMSE p = 0.011); distress related to seizure frequency (p = 0.003) and medication effects (p = 0.046) were significantly lower. Levetiracetam caused mild and reversible side effects. These preliminary data on LEV monotherapy in patients with brain tumor-related epilepsy show that this antiepileptic drug is efficacious and well tolerated.
Patients with brain tumor-related epilepsy (BTRE) present a complex therapeutic profile and require a unique and multidisciplinary approach. They, in fact, must face two different pathologies at the same time, brain tumor and epilepsy. Therefore, it is necessary to develop a customized treatment plan for each individual with BTRE. This requires a vision of patient management concerned not only with medical therapies related to the oncological disease and to the correct choice of antiepileptic therapies but also with emotional and psychological support for the individual and his/her family. The choice of antiepileptic drugs is challenging for these patients because BTRE is often drug-resistant, has a strong impact on the quality of life, and weighs heavily on public health expenditures. In brain tumor patients, the presence of epilepsy is considered the most important risk factor for long-term disability. The problem of the proper administration of medications and their potential side effects is of great importance, because good seizure control also has a significant impact on the patients psychological and relational sphere.
Epilepsy occurs in glioma, especially in low-grade glioma (LGG), but also in glioblastoma (GBM). In about 20 % of patients pharmacological treatment with anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) fails. Refractory epilepsy is a multifactorial phenomenon not yet completely understood. The multidrug resistance phenotype was initially associated to P-glycoprotein (Pgp), an ATP-dependent transporter belonging to the same superfamily of multidrug resistance-associated proteins (MRPs). Glutathione-S-transferase-? (GST-?) is also involved in refractory epilepsy. In the present work we investigated the expression of Pgp, MRP1, MRP3 and GST-? in surgical specimens obtained from 35 patients with glioma and epilepsy. We observed MRP1 expression in tumor and endothelial cells (EC), MRP3 and Pgp expression mainly in ECs and GST-? predominantly in tumor cells (TC). MRP1 and MRP3 were more expressed in high grade glioma (HGG) than in LGG. In 6 cases we could compare tumor and periphery detecting the same MRP1 and Pgp expression, while MRP3 was mainly expressed in the tumor. We observed a trend of a better outcome in seizure control associated with a lower expression of MRP1 and MRP3. MRP3 was statistically more expressed in TCs of HGG than LGG (p = 0.0401) and more expressed in tumor than in periphery, in agreement with recent works that identify MRP3 as a potential target in GBM. Moreover, MRP3 was investigated in association with refractory epilepsy for the first time in our study and it was less expressed in patients with complete response to AEDs (p = 0.0550). Our preliminary data show an association between multidrug resistance transporters and refractory epilepsy in glioma.
An open pilot study to evaluate the effect of pregabalin (PGB) as add-on therapy on seizure control, quality of life, and anxiety in patients with brain tumour-related epilepsy (BTRE).
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