Effect of ionizing radiation on the human brain: White matter and gray matter T1 in pediatric brain tumor patients treated with conformal radiation therapy

R. Grant Steen, Matthew Koury B.s, C. Isabel Granja, Xioping Xiong, Shengjie Wu, John O. Glass, Raymond K. Mulhern, Larry E. Kun, Thomas E. Merchant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To test a hypothesis that fractionated radiation therapy (RT) to less than 60 Gy is associated with a dose-related change in the spin-lattice relaxation time (T1) of normal brain tissue, and that such changes are detectable by quantitative MRI (qMRI). Methods: Each of 21 patients received a qMRI examination before treatment, and at several time points during and after RT. A map of brain T1 was calculated and segmented into white matter and gray matter at each time point. The RT isodose contours were then superimposed upon the T1 map, and changes in brain tissue T1 were analyzed as a function of radiation dose and time following treatment. We used a mixed-model analysis to analyze the longitudinal trend in brain T1 from the start of RT to 1 year later. Predictive factors evaluated included patient age and clinical variables, such as RT dose, time since treatment, and the use of an imaging contrast agent. Results: In white matter (WM), a dose level of greater than 20 Gy was associated with a dose-dependent decrease in T1 over time, which became significant about 3 months following treatment. In gray matter (GM), there was no significant change in T1 over time, as a function of RT doses < 60 Gy. However, GM in close proximity to the tumor had an inherently lower T1 before therapy. Neither use of a contrast agent nor a combination of chemotherapy plus steroids had a significant effect on brain T1. Conclusion: Results suggest that T1 mapping may be sensitive to radiation-related changes in human brain tissue T1. WM T1 appears to be unaffected by RT at doses less than approximately 20 Gy; GM T1 does not change at doses less than 60 Gy. However, tumor appears to have an effect upon adjacent GM, even before treatment. Conformal RT may offer a substantial benefit to the patient, by minimizing the volume of normal brain exposed to greater than 20 Gy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-91
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

Keywords

  • Brain tissue
  • Dose-related changes
  • Radiotherapy
  • T1 mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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