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Neuroradiology. 2013 Oct;55(10):1251-7. doi: 10.1007/s00234-013-1245-7. Epub 2013 Jul 27.

Effects of chemotherapy on the brain in childhood: diffusion tensor imaging of subtle white matter damage.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kajii-cho, Kawaramachi-Hirokoji, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, 602-8566, Japan.



With reducing mortality in children with hematological malignancies, the survivors' quality of life regarding development of chronic neurological disturbances is important. We aimed to determine whether chemotherapy affects white matter (WM).


Using brain diffusion tensor imaging, we evaluated 17 patients (15 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, 2 with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; 9 male, 8 female; age, 1.6-13 years) before and after chemotherapy. We measured the quantitative values of fractional anisotropy (FA) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) at the regions of interest (ROIs) such as periventricular WM, corona radiata, posterior limb of the internal capsule, and corpus callosum. We assessed sensorimotor and callosal tracts by tractography.


Reduction in FA and increase in ADC were significant at the ROIs of the left and right anterior periventricular WM and corona radiata and at the tract passing through the genu. A significant reduction in FA with a nonsignificant increase in ADC was seen at the ROI of the genu and at the tracts passing through the body and isthmus.


Chemotherapy in children with hematological malignancies predominantly affects the frontal WM. This finding might indicate a negative effect of chemotherapy on neurological development in children with hematological malignancies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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