Late temporal lobe necrosis in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma: evaluation with combined multi-section diffusion weighted and perfusion weighted MR imaging

Eur J Radiol. 2001 Sep;39(3):133-8. doi: 10.1016/s0720-048x(01)00328-x.


Late temporal lobe necrosis is a well-known and serious complication in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) following radiotherapy. Owing to the close proximity to the skull base, the medial temporal lobes are inevitably included in the target volume of irradiation. Patients with NPC provide a unique opportunity in study of delay radiation effect in normal human brain. The objective of this study was to evaluate late temporal lobe radiation injury by combined multi-section diffusion weighted and perfusion weighted MR imaging. We prospectively studied 16 patients with typical clinical symptoms of late temporal lobe necrosis or other abnormalities in the temporal lobes incidentally detected by conventional MR imaging. All patients had a previous history of radiotherapy for histologically proven NPC. Conventional T1- and T2-weighted images, fast gradient echo with echo-planar diffusion-weighted and perfusion-weighted MR imaging were performed. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) map and relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) map were computed via commercially available software. MR diffusion and perfusion images were then analyzed and graded by two independent observers with focusing on the diffusion and perfusion mismatch. The temporal lobe lesions displayed marked high diffusion on the ADC map. The rCBV map also revealed marked hypoperfusion in these temporal lobe lesions in all patients. The areas of abnormality on the rCBV map were significantly larger than the lesions on the ADC map in 14 patients (observer 1) and 13 patients (observer 2). Since late temporal lobe necrosis is probably caused by damage of the endothelium of vessels and ischemia, perfusion and diffusion mismatch might imply injured tissue but potentially salvageable brain tissue. A mismatch may be potentially used to predict the response to treatment in-patients with late temporal lobe necrosis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contrast Media
  • Echo-Planar Imaging
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Necrosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiation Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology*
  • Temporal Lobe / radiation effects
  • Time Factors


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium DTPA