Clinical features of encephalopathy in children with cancer requiring cranial magnetic resonance imaging

Yeon Jung Lim, Hyung Jin Kim, Young Jun Lee, In Joon Seol, Young Ho Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


We analyzed acute neurotoxic problems attributable to chemotherapy or immunosuppression in the context of childhood neoplastic diseases, based on clinical and neuroradiologic findings. This retrospective single-center study reviewed the acute neurologic complications of 62 children receiving conventional chemotherapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation from July 2005-July 2008. We excluded patients with central nervous system metastasis and various neurotoxic manifestations not usually requiring cranial magnetic resonance imaging. Of 62 patients, 12 (19.3%) developed acute neurologic complications. The most common complications included posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome in six of 12 (50%) patients, and Wernicke's encephalopathy in three of 12 (25%) patients. Other complications included chemical arachnoiditis, grey matter injury induced by postchemotherapeutic angiopathy, and leukoencephalopathy. Posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome was accompanied by hypertensive episodes in most patients (5/6), and Wernicke's encephalopathy was evident with altered mental status in malnourished children. These data indicate that posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome and Wernicke's encephalopathy are the predominant complications in children undergoing chemotherapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Early radiologic and clinical evaluation and prompt treatment for these complications are necessary to prevent their progression to irreversible brain damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-438
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2011 Jun


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