Fourteen children who relapsed after initial remission of leukaemia were studied. Six received a second course of cranial radiotherapy, while the remaining eight children were given total body irradiation before bone marrow transplantation. The postirradiation somnolence syndrome was common after cranial radiotherapy. All children had mild/soft neurological signs, mostly of coordination. None had a major motor disability. All but the youngest child had cataracts; two children required an operation for these. All children were growth hormone deficient. Verbal IQ, attention, and concentration were selectively reduced (with respect to normative levels). The time between the two treatments, age at relapse, and higher doses of radiotherapy all correlated with cognitive outcome, with girls showing greater impairments than boys. Only two children were performing at age appropriate levels on measures of academic achievement. It is concluded that neurological and neuropsychological morbidity is significantly increased by the current treatments prescribed after the relapse of leukaemia.
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