Purpose: Radiation-induced brain injury (RBI) is an insidious side-effect of radiotherapy mediated by vascular alterations, inflammation and ischaemia. In previous studies we had shown potential increases in loco-regional blood flow and glucose metabolism in brain tumours by using electrical cervical spinal cord stimulation (SCS). In this preliminary report we demonstrate the effect of cervical SCS on RBI-tissue metabolism, as assessed using [(18)F]fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET).
Methods: SCS devices were inserted in eight patients with diagnosis of potential RBI in previously irradiated areas. While the SCS device was deactivated, each patient underwent an initial FDG-PET study to evaluate the clinical status. A second FDG-PET study was performed later the same day while the SCS device was activated in order to evaluate the effect of cervical SCS on glucose metabolism.
Results: Basal glucose metabolism in RBI areas was 31% lower than peri-RBI areas (p = 0.009) and 32% lower than healthy contra-lateral areas (p = 0.020). There was a significant increase in glucose uptake during SCS in both the RBI (p = 0.005) and the peri-RBI (p = 0.004) areas, with measured increases of 38 and 42%, respectively. The estimated potential maximal residual activity of the first FDG dose's contribution to the activity on the second scan was <or=14.3 +/- 4.6%.
Conclusions: In this study using PET, SCS increased glucose metabolism in RBI and peri-RBI areas. These results warrant further clinical investigation to elucidate more fully the clinical usefulness of SCS in these patients.