Seizures and anti-epileptic drugs in neuro-oncology

Michael J. Glantz, Julia Batten

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Seizures are common in patients with central nervous system cancer, although the exact frequency of seizures depends considerably on the location, growth rate, and histology of the tumor. The occurrence of a first seizure in an adult mandates a neuroimaging study of the brain, preferably an enhanced MRI scan with FLAIR sequences. Focal seizures in children, particularly in the presence of post-ictal or intra-ictal deficits, may also merit a similar evaluation. In patients with known cancer, an MRI scan with FLAIR images and contrast enhancement is the optimum neuroimaging test. Extensive studies to evaluate infectious, metabolic, and drug-related etiologies are also critical, and in many cases a cerebrospinal fluid examination is indicated. While surgical therapy of tumorassociated seizures holds promise, particularly for patients with low-grade primary brain tumors, intraoperative electrocorticography may be required for optimum seizure control, and post-operative anticonvulsant medication is usually necessary. Anticonvulsant medications are associated with more frequent and often more severe side effects in patients with cancer than in patients with other causes for their seizures. These side effects include important interactions with corticosteroids and chemotherapeutic agents, and should influence the choice of anticonvulsant agents and the monitoring schedule of patients under treatment. Prophylactic anticonvulsants are not effective, and should not be used routinely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCancer Neurology In Clinical Practice
Subtitle of host publicationNeurologic Complications of Cancer and Its Treatment: Second Edition
PublisherHumana Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9781588299833
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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