Weight of epilepsy in brain tumor patients

Fonte: Journal of Neuro-Oncology – Maggio 2014

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.
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