Multimodality imaging for improved detection of epileptogenic foci in tuberous sclerosis complex

Neurology. 2000 May 23;54(10):1976-84. doi: 10.1212/wnl.54.10.1976.


Objective: Using interictal alpha-[11C]methyl-l-tryptophan ([11C]AMT) PET scan, the authors have undertaken a quantitative analysis of all tubers visible on MRI or 2-deoxy-2-[18F]fluoro-d-glucose ([18F]FDG) PET, to determine the relationship between [11C]AMT uptake and epileptic activity on EEG.

Background: Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is an autosomal dominant disorder, often associated with cortical tubers and intractable epilepsy. The authors have shown previously that [11C]AMT PET scans show high tracer uptake in some epileptogenic tubers and low uptake in the remaining tubers.

Methods: Eighteen children, age 7 months to 16 years, were studied. Patients underwent video-EEG monitoring, PET scans of [11C]AMT and [18F]FDG, and T2-weighted or fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) MRI. [11C]AMT uptake values were measured in 258 cortical tubers delineated with coregistered MRI or [18F]FDG scans. Uptake ratios were calculated between the [11C]AMT uptake in tubers and those for normal cortex (tuber/normal cortex). Using the region of epileptiform activity, the authors performed receiver operator characteristics (ROC) analysis and determined the optimal uptake ratio for detecting presumed epileptogenic tubers.

Results: Tuber uptake ratios ranged from 0.6 to 2.0. Tuber uptake ratios in the epileptic lobes were higher than those in the nonepileptic lobes (p < 0.0001). All 15 patients with focal seizure activity showed one or more lesions with uptake ratio above 0.98 in the epileptic lobe. ROC analysis showed that a tuber uptake ratio of 0.98 resulted in a specificity of 0.91.

Conclusions: Cortical tubers with [11C]AMT uptake greater than or equal to normal cortex are significantly related to epileptiform activity in that lobe. Together, interictal [11C]AMT PET and FLAIR MRI improve the detection of potentially epileptogenic tubers in patients with TSC being evaluated for epilepsy surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromosome Aberrations / genetics
  • Chromosome Disorders
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy / genetics
  • Female
  • Genes, Dominant / genetics
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / genetics


  • Blood Glucose