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Abstract

Three children, 1 with medulloblastoma, 1 with anaplastic cerebellar tumor, and 1 with acute lymphocytic leukemia, received craniospinal irradiation with an estimated cord dose between 1,100 and 1,200 rets. All 3 patients after a latent period of seven to eight months developed subacute transverse myelopathy. The myelopathy was cervical in 2 patients and thoracic in 1. Spinal fluid examination showed high protein levels in 2 patients. Myelography demonstrated a swollen cord in 2 patients and normal appearance in 1. Autopsy in 1 patient disclosed a necrotizing myelopathy. The findings suggest that children tolerate less well than adults what previously have been considered safe doses of radiation to the spinal cord.