Brain Perfusion and Diffusion Abnormalities in Children Treated for Posterior Fossa Brain Tumors


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Abstract

ObjectiveTo compare cerebral perfusion and diffusion in survivors of childhood posterior fossa brain tumor with neurologically normal controls and correlate differences with cognitive dysfunction.Study designWe analyzed retrospectively arterial spin-labeled cerebral blood flow (CBF) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) in 21 patients with medulloblastoma (MB), 18 patients with pilocytic astrocytoma (PA), and 64 neurologically normal children. We generated ANCOVA models to evaluate treatment effects on the cerebral cortex, thalamus, caudate, putamen, globus pallidus, hippocampus, amygdala, nucleus accumbens, and cerebral white matter at time points an average of 5.7 years after original diagnosis. A retrospective review of patient charts identified 12 patients with neurocognitive data and in whom the relationship between IQ and magnetic resonance imaging variables was assessed for each brain structure.ResultsPatients with MB (all treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation) had significantly lower global CBF relative to controls (10%-23% lower, varying by anatomic region, all adjusted P < .05), whereas patients with PA (all treated with surgery alone) had normal CBF. ADC was decreased specifically in the hippocampus and amygdala of patients with MB and within the amygdala of patients with PA but otherwise remained normal after therapy. In the patients with tumor previously evaluated for IQ, regional ADC, but not CBF, correlated with IQ (R2 = 0.33-0.75).ConclusionsThe treatment for MB, but not PA, was associated with globally reduced CBF. Treatment in both tumor types was associated with diffusion abnormalities of the mesial temporal lobe structures. Despite significant perfusion abnormalities in patients with MB, diffusion, but not perfusion, correlated with cognitive outcomes.

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