Prognosis of Hippocampal Function after Sub-lethal Irradiation Brain Injury in Patients with Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 31;7(1):14697. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13972-2.


This work emphasizes the value of assessing hippocampal function by making a timely MRI-based prognosis following a minor dose of hippocampal irradiation after nasopharyngeal carcinomas (NPC) radiotherapy. A quasi-experiment with case-control design and functional assessments (e.g., neuroimaging analysis with fMRI) was conducted to assess hippocampal function after radiotherapy. We delivered 70 Gy of irradiation to nasopharyngeal carcinomas by 6MV helical radiotherapy and collected data from twenty NPC patients and 24 healthy age-matched subjects. Inevitably, hippocampi also received an average dose of 6.89 Gy (range, 2.0-14 Gy). Seed-based functional connectivity of the hippocampus was applied to estimate the cognitive alteration by time before, one month, and four months after irradiation. Afterward, longitudinal-and-cross-sessional statistical inference was determined with time-dependent measurement analysis of variance (ANOVA) with controlled covariance. Over time, there were longitudinal changes in the functional connectivity of hippocampal-related cortices, including the right middle frontal lobe, left superior temporal lobe, and left postcentral gyrus. The findings indicate the presence of functional plasticity, demonstrating how minor irradiation affects functional performance during the early delayed phase of irradiation-induced brain injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / radiation effects*
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Brain Injuries / etiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cranial Irradiation / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma / radiotherapy
  • Neuroimaging
  • Prognosis
  • Radiation Injuries / diagnosis*