Leukoencephalopathy after Chemotherapy and/or Radiotherapy

  • Jacob Valk
  • Marjo S. van der Knaap


Radiotherapy and chemotherapy form, together with surgery, an integral part of the treatment of malignancy. When considering the brain, these modes of therapy are not only applied in the approach to primary brain tumors and cerebral metastases, but intrathecal administration of cytostatica and cranial irradiation are also widely used in the prophylaxis of cerebral metastases in cases of extracerebral malignancies. Furthermore, systemic chemotherapy, which is used in many kinds of extracerebral tumors, also reaches the brain. For many years the human brain was considered to be relatively resistant to therapeutic doses of radiation and chemotherapeutics. However, it has become necessary to modify this concept as it has now been established that adverse effects are not exceptional. These adverse effects can be divided into three groups according to time of appearance. There are acute reactions, which occur during the course of treatment; early delayed reactions, usually transient and appearing from a few weeks to a few months after treatment; and late delayed reactions with onset from several months to several years later.


White Matter Cerebellar Ataxia Cranial Irradiation White Matter Change Cerebral Metastasis 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob Valk
    • 1
  • Marjo S. van der Knaap
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic Radiology and NeuroradiologyFree University HospitalAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Child NeurologyAcademic HospitalUtrechtThe Netherlands

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