Epilepsy in the end of life phase of brain tumor patients: a systematic review

Johan A F Koekkoek, Linda Dirven, Jaap C Reijneveld, Tjeerd J Postma, Robin Grant, Andrea Pace, Stefan Oberndorfer, Jan J Heimans, Martin J B Taphoorn

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

24 Citations (Scopus)


Epileptic seizures are common in patients with primary or secondary malignant brain tumor. However, current knowledge on the occurrence of seizures during the end of life (EOL) phase of brain tumor patients is limited. Because symptom management with preservation of quality of life is of major importance for patients with a malignant brain tumor, particularly in the EOL, it is necessary to gain a deeper understanding of seizures and their management during this phase. We performed a systematic review of literature related to epilepsy in the EOL phase of brain tumor patients, based on the electronic resources PubMed, Embase, and Cinahl. The search yielded 442 unique records, of which 11 articles were eligible for further analysis after applying predefined inclusion criteria. Seizures occur relatively frequently in the EOL phase, particularly in patients with high-grade glioma. However, seizure management is often hampered by swallowing difficulties and impaired consciousness. Treatment decisions are largely dependent on expert opinion because a standardized approach for treating seizures in the terminal stage of brain tumor patients is still lacking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-140
Number of pages7
JournalNeuro-Oncology Practice
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2014


  • Brain tumor
  • End of life
  • Epilepsy
  • Glioma
  • Metastasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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