KCNQ2-Related Epilepsy: Genotype-Phenotype Relationship with Tailored Antiseizure Medication (ASM)-A Systematic Review

Neuropediatrics. 2023 Oct;54(5):297-307. doi: 10.1055/a-2060-4576. Epub 2023 Mar 22.


Background: Autosomal dominant mutations of the KCNQ2 gene can cause two epileptic disorders: benign familial neonatal seizures (BFNS) and developmental epileptic encephalopathy (DEE). This systematic review aims to identify the best reported therapy for these patients, relating to phenotype, neurodevelopmental outcome, and an eventual correlation between phenotype and genotype.

Methods: We searched on PubMed using the search terms "KCNQ2" AND "therapy" and "KCNQ2" AND "treatment"; we found 304 articles. Of these, 29 met our criteria. We collected the data from 194 patients. All 29 articles were retrospective studies.

Results: In all, 104 patients were classified as DEE and 90 as BFNS. After treatment began, 95% of BFNS patients became seizure free, whereas the seizures stopped only in 73% of those with DEE. Phenobarbital and sodium channel blockers were the most used treatment in BFNS. Most of the DEE patients (95%) needed polytherapy for seizure control and even that did not prevent subsequent developmental impairment (77%).Missense mutations were discovered in 96% of DEE patients; these were less common in BFNS (50%), followed by large deletion (16%), truncation (16%), splice donor site (10%), and frameshift (7%).

Conclusion: Phenobarbital or carbamazepine appears to be the most effective antiseizure medication for children with a "benign" variant. On the contrary, polytherapy is often needed for DEE patients, even if it does not seem to improve neurological outcomes. In DEE patients, most mutations were located in S4 and S6 helix, which could serve as a potential target for the development of more specific treatment in the future.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Epilepsy, Benign Neonatal* / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • KCNQ2 Potassium Channel* / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenotype
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seizures


  • KCNQ2 Potassium Channel
  • Phenobarbital

Supplementary concepts

  • Convulsions benign familial neonatal dominant form