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Radiology. 2003 Dec;229(3):659-69. Epub 2003 Oct 23.

White matter and cerebral metabolite changes in children undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia: longitudinal study with MR imaging and 1H MR spectroscopy.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Organ Imaging, Medical Physics Div, Chinese Univ of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hosp, 30-32 Ngan Shing St, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China. winnie@med.cuhk.edu.hk

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To assess the development of white matter and cerebral metabolite changes during and after treatment in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Twenty-three children (10 boys, mean age of 6.3 years; 13 girls, mean age of 6.6 years) with acute lymphoblastic leukemia were examined prospectively with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and MR spectroscopy at 0, 8, and 20 weeks and 1, 2, and 3 years after diagnosis. White matter changes were diagnosed on the basis of hyperintense abnormalities on T2-weighted MR images. Single-voxel hydrogen 1 MR spectroscopy results from the right frontoparietal region of 21 children who received intravenous high-dose methotrexate were analyzed for cerebral metabolite changes. Multilevel models were used to assess the change in metabolites from baseline levels at subsequent follow-up.

RESULTS:

At 20 weeks, MR spectroscopy showed a significant reduction (P <.05) of mean N-acetylaspartate to choline ratio and increase in mean choline to creatine ratio (P <.05) in the children given high-dose methotrexate. This decline in N-acetylaspartate to choline ratio subsequently reversed and increased, possibly because of normal age-related brain maturation. Seventeen of 21 (81%) children showed metabolite changes at MR spectroscopy, while five of 22 (23%) showed white matter changes at MR imaging at 20 weeks. One more child developed white matter changes at 32 weeks. The associated changes resolved or reduced with time.

CONCLUSION:

MR spectroscopy demonstrated metabolite changes in the brain after high-dose methotrexate treatment in the absence of structural white matter abnormalities at MR imaging. MR spectroscopy might thus be a more sensitive method of monitoring the effects of high-dose methotrexate in the brain.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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