Molecular Imaging of Brain Tumor-Associated Epilepsy
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Epilepsy is a common clinical manifestation and a source of significant morbidity in patients with brain tumors. Neuroimaging has a pivotal role in neuro-oncology practice, including tumor detection, differentiation, grading, treatment guidance, and posttreatment monitoring. In this review, we highlight studies demonstrating that imaging can also provide information about brain tumor-associated epileptogenicity and assist delineation of the peritumoral epileptic cortex to optimize postsurgical seizure outcome. Most studies focused on gliomas and glioneuronal tumors where positron emission tomography (PET) and advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques can detect metabolic and biochemical changes associated with altered amino acid transport and metabolism, neuroinflammation, and neurotransmitter abnormalities in and around epileptogenic tumors. PET imaging of amino acid uptake and metabolism as well as activated microglia can detect interictal or peri-ictal cortical increased uptake (as compared to non-epileptic cortex) associated with tumor-associated epilepsy. Metabolic tumor volumes may predict seizure outcome based on objective treatment response during glioma chemotherapy. Advanced MRI, especially glutamate imaging, can detect neurotransmitter changes around epileptogenic brain tumors. Recently, developed PET radiotracers targeting specific glutamate receptor types may also identify therapeutic targets for pharmacologic seizure control. Further studies with advanced multimodal imaging approaches may facilitate development of precision treatment strategies to control brain tumor-associated epilepsy.