Fluorodeoxyglucose Detected Changes in Brain Metabolism After Chemotherapy in Pediatric Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Shai Shrot*, Gadi Abebe-Campino, Amos Toren, Simona Ben-Haim, Chen Hoffmann, Tima Davidson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Potential neurocognitive dysfunction after chemotherapy is a worrisome long-term outcome. Our objective was to evaluate the effect on brain metabolism in pediatric patients with non–central nervous system cancer treated with chemotherapy by analyzing brain data from serial whole-body fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed-tomography (FDG-PET/CT) scans taken before and sequentially after therapy. Methods: Fourteen pediatric patients diagnosed with lymphoma and treated with systemic and prophylactic intrathecal chemotherapy were included. All patients had baseline pretreatment whole-body FDG-PET/CT and at least one post-therapy study preformed as part of standard surveillance. Brain positron emission tomography data were quantitatively analyzed for normalized fluorodeoxyglucose uptake in various brain regions. A generalized estimating equation approach was used to evaluate temporal changes after chemotherapy. Results: Median time of follow-up surveillance positron emission tomography–computed-tomography was 456 days after chemotherapy course. Various brain regions demonstrated significant changes in fluorodeoxyglucose uptake as a function of time passed since chemotherapy. Increased fluorodeoxyglucose uptake was noted in the parietal and cingulate cortexes. Decreased fluorodeoxyglucose uptake was demonstrated in deep gray matter nuclei and in the brainstem. Conclusions: Our study provides novel insights into long-standing and progressive changes in regional glucose metabolism after chemotherapy in pediatric cancer population, lasting long after the end of therapy and reaching clinical remission. Expanding the utility of regular surveillance fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography to a detailed quantitative assessment of regional brain metabolism after chemotherapy can provide valuable information on individual chemotherapy-related neuromodulation and facilitate the development of strategies to minimize neurocognitive side effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-42
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Neurology
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Chemobrain
  • Neuroimaging
  • Neurotoxicity
  • PET/CT


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