Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Leukemia treatment & cognitive development


Ilse Schuitema


Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common form of childhood cancer. Over 80% of children with ALL become long term survivors and their quality of life has developed into an imperative issue. Central nervous system prophylaxis (chemotherapy, cranial irradiation) is an essential part of ALL treatment and suspected to cause long term neurocognitive deficits.

Most existing literature reports on late effects after 5-10 years, but we study neurocognitive outcome in survivors ± 20 years after treatment. The Amsterdam Neuropsychological Tasks programme (ANT) is used to define their neuropsychological (deficit) profile. In addition, we try to find the mechanism(s) in the brain that account for the neuropsychological deficits. We hypothesize that discrete white matter pathology disrupts the functional integrity of neural networks. Imaging measures like structural and functional MRI, DTI and MEG are used to study that hypothesis. This multi-center study (VUmc – AMC) is funded by the Dutch Cancer Society.

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