Quantitative morphologic evaluation of white matter in survivors of childhood medulloblastoma

Magn Reson Imaging. 2006 Oct;24(8):1015-22. doi: 10.1016/j.mri.2006.04.015. Epub 2006 Jun 6.


In survivors of pediatric brain tumors, cranial radiation therapy can cause a debilitating cognitive decline associated with decreased volume in normal-appearing white matter (NAWM). We applied fractal geometry to quantify white matter (WM) integrity in the brain of medulloblastoma survivors. Fractal features of WM were evaluated by indices of fractal dimensions (FDs) of WM intensity and boundary on T1-weighted magnetic resonance images. The FD index of WM intensity was calculated by using a fractional Brownian motion model, and the FD index of WM boundary was calculated by using a box-counting method. Fractal features of WM on 116 magnetic resonance images of 58 patients with medulloblastoma were investigated at the start of therapy (Start TX) and approximately 2 years later (After TX). Patients were assigned to one of two groups based on change in NAWM volumes. Fractal features in patients with decreased NAWM volume were significantly greater After TX, whereas those in patients with increased NAWM volumes were not. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that fractal features were strongly correlated with NAWM volumes After TX in patients with decreased NAWM volume. These results demonstrated significant deficit in NAWM integrity and WM density changes in children treated for medulloblastoma. Multiple regression analysis illustrated that deficits in NAWM integrity in these children may partly explain the decrease in NAWM volume. We conclude that fractal geometry can be used to monitor the morphologic effects of neurotoxicity in brain tumor survivors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / etiology
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cranial Irradiation / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Fractals
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Medulloblastoma / pathology*
  • Medulloblastoma / radiotherapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Survivors