An extent of resection threshold for seizure freedom in patients with low-grade gliomas

David S. Xu, Al Wala Awad, Chad Mehalechko, Jeffrey R. Wilson, Lynn S. Ashby, Stephen W. Coons, Nader Sanai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Seizures are the most common presenting symptom of newly diagnosed WHO Grade II gliomas (lowgrade glioma [LGG]) and significantly impair quality of life. Although gross-total resection of LGG is associated with better seizure control, it remains unclear whether an extent of resection (EOR) "threshold" exists for long-term seizure control. Specifically, what proportion of FLAIR-positive tissue in patients with newly diagnosed LGG must be removed to achieve Engel Class I seizure freedom? To clarify the EOR threshold for long-term seizure control, the authors analyzed data from a consecutive series of patients with newly diagnosed LGG who presented with seizures and subsequently underwent microsurgical resection. METHODS The authors identified consecutive patients with newly diagnosed LGG who presented with seizures and were treated at the Barrow Neurological Institute between 2002 and 2012. Patients were dichotomized into those who were seizure free postoperatively and those who were not. The EOR was calculated by quantitative comparison of preand postoperative MRI. Univariate analysis of these 2 groups included the chi-square test and the Mann-Whitney U-test, and a multivariate logistic regression was constructed to predict the impact of multiple independent variables on the likelihood of postoperative seizure freedom. To determine a threshold of EOR that optimizes seizure freedom, a receiver operating characteristic curve was plotted and the optimal point of discrimination was determined. RESULTS Data from 128 patients were analyzed (male/female ratio 1.37:1; mean age 40.8 years). All 128 patients presented with seizures, usually generalized (n = 57, 44.5%) or simple partial (n = 57, 44.5%). The median EOR was 90.0%. Of 128 patients, 46 (35.9%) had 100% volumetric tumor resection, 64 (50.0%) had 90%-99% volumetric tumor resection, and 11 (8.6%) had 80%-89% volumetric tumor resection. Postoperatively, 105 (82%) patients were seizure free (Engel Class I); 23 (18%) were not (Engel Classes II-IV). The proportion of seizure-free patients increased in proportion to the EOR. Predictive variables included in the regression model were preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale score, seizure type, time from diagnosis to surgery, preoperative number of antiepileptic drugs, and EOR. Only EOR significantly affected the likelihood of postoperative Engel Class I status (OR 11.5, 95% CI 2.4-55.6; p = 0.002). The receiver operating characteristic curve generated based on Engel Class I status showed a sensitivity of 0.65 and 1 - specificity of 0.175, corresponding to an EOR of 80%. CONCLUSIONS For adult patients with LGG who suffer seizures, the results suggest that seizure freedom can be attained when EOR > 80% is achieved. Improvements in both the proportion of seizure-free patients and the durability of seizure freedom were observed beyond this 80% threshold. Interestingly, this putative EOR seizure-freedom threshold closely approximates that reported for the overall survival benefit in newly diagnosed hemispheric LGGs, suggesting that a minimum level of residual tumor burden is necessary for both disease and symptomatic progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1084-1090
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • Engel classification
  • Extent of resection
  • Low-grade glioma
  • Oncology
  • Seizure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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