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VII. Toxic Effects of Radiation Treatment

In some patients, delayed effects of radiation can be a complication of treatment for CNS tumors. This reaction is called radiation encephalopathy (or radiation myelopathy if it occurs in the spinal cord). Characteristics include a latent interval of months, local or generalized seizures, stupor and coma.   Morphologically, white matter lesions are characteristic and may vary from cystic necrosis to discrete demyelinated areas to a single zone surrounding the tumor.  There may also be vascular damage following radiation.  A long-term complication is the development of radiation-induced meningiomas, sarcomas and gliomas.