Epilepsy May Increase the Risk of Cerebral Tumors

Increased risk persists several years after initial admission for epilepsy

WEDNESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Individuals who have new-onset epilepsy have an increased risk for developing cerebral tumors, according to a study published online March 28 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Tasneem Khan, from the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, U.K., and colleagues quantified the risk of cerebral tumor after new-onset seizures. Individuals with a first admission for epilepsy and subsequent admission with cerebral tumor were identified from the Oxford Record Linkage Study (ORLS) and English national linked Hospital Episode Statistics (England) cohorts. The rate of cerebral tumor occurrence after initial admission for epilepsy was expressed as rate ratio (RR) and compared to a control cohort.

The researchers found that the RR in the ORLS and England cohorts was 19.9 and 19.7, respectively, compared to the rate in a control cohort. In both the ORLS and England cohorts, the RRs for malignant tumors were higher than benign tumors (25.6 versus 10.1 and 27.3 versus 10.4, respectively). The risk of tumor was highest for those with an epilepsy admission at age 15 to 44 years (RR, 24.2 ORLS and 38.1 England). Cerebral tumor risk persisted after the initial admission in both the ORLS and England cohorts (RR, 3.29 at 15 years or more and 5.27 at five to seven years later, respectively).

"Our study indicates the need for continued surveillance in patients presenting with new-onset seizures. The seizure activity in some patients may be due to the preclinical phase of tumor development; in others it may be caused directly by the tumor itself, undetected on initial imaging," the authors write.

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