Article Abstract

Brain size and neuropsychological functioning in long-term survivors of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Authors: Jean M. Mulcahy Levy, Stephen P. Hunger


With the increased survival of pediatric cancer patients the interest in the late effects of treatments is rapidly increasing. Long-term survival rates for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) now approach 90%. Treatment for ALL includes intensified central nervous system (CNS)-directed therapy, which is associated with risks for long-term neurocognitive effects. It is becoming clear that current therapies can have not only a detrimental effect on IQ, processing speed, and memory, but also on structural changes that lead to permanent alterations of the organization of the CNS. Understanding how the CNS is affected by the treatments is a critical step in evaluating current therapies and developing interventions to decrease the incidence and severity of long-term changes in brain anatomy and function.