Purpose: To assess atrophy differences among brain regions and time-dependent changes after whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT).
Materials and methods: Twenty patients with lung cancer who underwent both WBRT and chemotherapy (WBRT group) and 18 patients with lung cancer who underwent only chemotherapy (control group) were recruited. Three-dimensional T1WI were analyzed to calculate volume reduction ratio after WBRT in various brain structures. The volume reduction ratio of the hippocampus was compared among following 3 periods: 0-3, 4-7, and 8-11 months after WBRT.
Results: The volume reduction ratio of the hippocampus was significantly higher in the WBRT group than in the control group (p < 0.05). In WBRT group, the volume reduction ratio of the hippocampus was significantly higher than that of the cortex and white matter (p < 0.05). There were significant differences in the volume reduction ratio between of 0-3 months and that of 4-7 months (p = 0.02) and between 4-7 months and that of 8-11 months (p = 0.01).
Conclusion: The hippocampus is more vulnerable to the radiation compared with other brain regions and may become atrophic even in the early stage after WBRT.
Keywords: Brain metastasis; Hippocampus; Radiation therapy; Voxel-based morphometry (VBM).