Purpose: Children with medulloblastoma undergo surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. After treatment, these children have numerous structural abnormalities. Using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging, we measured the thickness of the cerebral cortex in a group of medulloblastoma patients and a group of normally developing children.
Methods and materials: We obtained magnetic resonance imaging scans and measured the cortical thickness in 9 children after treatment of medulloblastoma. The measurements from these children were compared with the measurements from age- and gender-matched normally developing children previously scanned. For additional comparison, the pattern of thickness change was compared with the cortical thickness maps from a larger group of 65 normally developing children.
Results: In the left hemisphere, relatively thinner cortex was found in the perirolandic region and the parieto-occipital lobe. In the right hemisphere, relatively thinner cortex was found in the parietal lobe, posterior superior temporal gyrus, and lateral temporal lobe. These regions of cortical thinning overlapped with the regions of cortex that undergo normal age-related thinning.
Conclusion: The spatial distribution of cortical thinning suggested that the areas of cortex that are undergoing development are more sensitive to the effects of treatment of medulloblastoma. Such quantitative methods may improve our understanding of the biologic effects that treatment has on the cerebral development and their neuropsychological implications.