X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy: The role of contrast-enhanced MR imaging in predicting disease progression

Elias R. Melhem, Daniel J. Loes, Christos S. Georgiades, Gerald V. Raymond, Hugo W. Moser

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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Early assignment of disease progression among patients with X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) is critical for the appropriate selection of effective therapy. We evaluated the association between contrast enhancement on T1-weighted spin-echo MR images and disease progression. METHODS: Clinical charts of patients with X-linked ALD were reviewed for age, availability of MR images of the brain, severity of neurologic impairment, and duration and number of follow-up evaluations. Forty-three male patients with X-linked ALD had undergone multiple MR imaging examinations of the brain that consisted of at least sagittal and axial T1- weighted spin-echo, axial double-echo spin-echo, and contrast-enhanced axial T1-weighted spin-echo imaging. The MR images were reviewed for the presence of contrast enhancement. In addition, global disease burden, as shown by the double-echo spin-echo images, was assessed using a visual scoring method (Loes score). RESULTS: Enhancement was seen on the initial T1-weighted spin- echo MR images of 21 (49%) patients; 18 (86%) of the 21 patients had disease progression revealed by the follow-up evaluations based on MR imaging (Loes) and neurologic scores. No enhancement was seen on the initial T1-weighted spin-echo MR images of 22 (51%) patients; for 18 (82%) of the 22 patients, no evidence of disease progression was revealed by the follow-up evaluations. CONCLUSION: There is a very strong association between the presence of contrast enhancement on T1-weighted MR images and X-linked ALD progression based on clinical evaluation and MR imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-844
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 25 2000


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