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Fatty-marrow transformation following radiotherapy for pancreatic cancer detected using dual-energy computed tomography: A case report.

Bone damage, a late side effect of radiotherapy, occurs concurrently with the replacement of fat cells in the bone marrow, causing changes in bone composition. Changes in composition can affect bone quality and disease states, and reduced bone mass can reduce quality of life by increasing the risk of fractures. A 70-year-old woman presented to the orthopedic outpatient clinic with the chief complaint of lower-back pain. The patient reported no history of trauma but was in great pain and had difficulty walking. Since the patient had a history of pancreatic cancer, tumor-marker testing, bone scintigraphy, and dual-energy computed tomography were performed. Although the tumor-marker levels were normal, dual-energy computed tomography and bone scintigraphy revealed fresh compression fractures of the L1 and L3 vertebrae. In addition, dual-energy computed tomography material-discrimination analysis suggested high fat density in the L2 vertebral body. The patient had received approximately 30 Gy radiation to the L2 vertebral body for her pancreatic cancer, which resulted in fatty myelination in the bone. The diagnosis of fatty myelination is made on T1-weighted magnetic resonance images; however, diagnosis remains challenging because of the difficulty in assessing bone morphology on magnetic resonance images. Moreover, some patients are not candidates for magnetic resonance imaging. Dual-energy computed tomography-based material-discrimination analysis can visually depict changes in the bone marrow, and is a valuable diagnostic tool owing to its simplicity.

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