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Clin Neuropathol. 2011 Jul-Aug;30(4):164-77.

Neuropathological work-up of focal cortical dysplasias using the new ILAE consensus classification system - practical guideline article invited by the Euro-CNS Research Committee.

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Department of Neuropathology, University Hospital Erlangen, Germany.


FCDs are increasingly recognized in patients with drug-resistant epilepsies, and many patients benefit from tailored resection strategies. Yet, postsurgical seizure control cannot be sufficiently predicted and specification of FCD variants remains difficult during presurgical monitoring. The International League against Epilepsy (ILAE) has published a new consensus classification system for focal cortical dysplasias (FCDs). Based on a review of imaging data, electroclinical features and postsurgical seizure control correlation with neuropathological findings specify three clinico-pathological FCD subtypes: FCD Type I is characterized by aberrant radial (FCD Type Ia) or tangential lamination of the neocortex (FCD Type Ib) affecting one or multiple lobes. FCD Type II is characterized by cortical dyslamination and dysmorphic neurons without (Type IIa) or with balloon cells (Type IIb). It is important to note, that these types should not be associated with any other structural brain lesion (isolated FCD). In contrast, a new FCD Type III is introduced, which occurs in combination with hippocampal sclerosis (FCD Type IIIa), or with epilepsy-associated tumors (FCD Type IIIb). FCD Type IIIc is found adjacent to vascular malformations, whereas FCD Type IIId can be diagnosed in association with other epileptogenic lesions obtained in early life (i.e., traumatic injury, ischemic injury or encephalitis). Histopathological features are very similar to those observed in FCD Type I, but likely present postnatal development and maturation failures acquired by the principal lesion. This first international consensus classification may encourage neuropathologists to focus their attention onto this important histopathological group. Addressing more precisely defined clinico-pathological entities will also help to clarify underlying pathomechanisms and, thereby, improve treatment strategies for patients with difficult-to-treat epilepsies.

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