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Epileptic Disord. 2008 Dec;10(4):362-70. doi: 10.1684/epd.2008.0221.

Multifocal epilepsy: the role of palliative resection - intractable frontal and occipital lobe epilepsy secondary to radiotherapy for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

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  • 1Epilepsy Research Centre and Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne.


Patients with multifocal epilepsy are often considered unsuitable for epilepsy surgery. We report an adolescent with intractable frontal and occipital lobe seizures, secondary to complications of treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia as a young child. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy were complicated by bilateral, posterior leukoencephalopathy and later an acquired frontal cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM). Detailed electro-clinical and imaging studies showed multiple, frontal lobe seizures per day with less frequent and non-debilitating, simple, occipital lobe seizures. Focal resection of the frontal CCM abolished the socially-disabling seizures with resultant marked improvement in the patient's quality of life at 12 months. Careful analysis of the type and impact of focal seizures in the setting of multifocal epilepsy may demonstrate that one seizure type is more deleterious to quality of life and may be amenable to surgery. In this situation, the patient may benefit significantly from surgery to resect the more active epileptic focus.

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