, Volume 49, Issue 11, pp 889-904
Date: 26 Jul 2007

Quantitative morphologic evaluation of magnetic resonance imaging during and after treatment of childhood leukemia

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Abstract

Introduction

Medical advances over the last several decades, including CNS prophylaxis, have greatly increased survival in children with leukemia. As survival rates have increased, clinicians and scientists have been afforded the opportunity to further develop treatments to improve the quality of life of survivors by minimizing the long-term adverse effects. When evaluating the effect of antileukemia therapy on the developing brain, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has been the preferred modality because it quantifies morphologic changes objectively and noninvasively.

Method and results

Computer-aided detection of changes on neuroimages enables us to objectively differentiate leukoencephalopathy from normal maturation of the developing brain. Quantitative tissue segmentation algorithms and relaxometry measures have been used to determine the prevalence, extent, and intensity of white matter changes that occur during therapy. More recently, diffusion tensor imaging has been used to quantify microstructural changes in the integrity of the white matter fiber tracts. MR perfusion imaging can be used to noninvasively monitor vascular changes during therapy. Changes in quantitative MR measures have been associated, to some degree, with changes in neurocognitive function during and after treatment.

Conclusion

In this review, we present recent advances in quantitative evaluation of MR imaging and discuss how these methods hold the promise to further elucidate the pathophysiologic effects of treatment for childhood leukemia.