The aim of this study was to evaluate longitudinally functional and neuro-radiologic findings in childhood optic gliomas (OG), by comparing flicker visual evoked potentials (F-VEPs) with brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) changes. Fourteen children (age range: 1-13 years) with OGs underwent serial F-VEP, MRI and neuro-ophthalmic examinations over a 38 month (median, range: 6-76) follow-up. F-VEPs were elicited by 8 Hz sine-wave flicker stimuli presented in a mini-Ganzfeld. Contrast-enhanced MRI examinations were performed. Results of both tests were blindly assessed by independent evaluators. F-VEPs were judged to be improved, stable or worsened if changes in the amplitude and/or phase angle of the response exceeded the limits of test-retest variability (+/-90th percentile) established for the same patients. MRI results were judged to show regression, stabilization or progression of OG based on its changes in size (+/-20%) or extension. Two to seven pairs of F-VEP/MRI examinations per patient (median: 4) were collected. Based on a total of 38 pairs of F-VEP/MRI examinations, both tests agreed in showing worsening (progression), stabilization and improvement (regression) in 5, 15 and 10 cases, respectively. In 3 cases, F-VEPs showed a worsening and MRI a stabilization, while in 5 cases F-VEPs showed an improvement and MRI a stabilization. Agreement between F-VEP and MRI changes was 78.9% (95% CI: +/- 37%, K statistics = 0.67, P < 0.001). The results indicate that longitudinal F-VEP changes can predict changes in MRI-assessed OG size and extension, providing a non-invasive functional assay, complementary to neuro-imaging, for OG follow-up.
- childhood optic gliomas
- flicker visual evoked potentials
- magnetic resonance imaging