February 22, 2021

MRI view of brain tumor prognosis

In patients with glioblastoma brain tumors, features detected on MRIs at diagnosis were associated with survival, Vanderbilt Medical Center investigators found.

Clinical investigations in neuro-oncology have focused mostly on brain tumors, with less exploration of the surrounding normal brain tissue and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) — the supporting environment for brain tumors. 

Akshitkumar Mistry, MD, and colleagues analyzed total volumes of tumor- and brain-related features on pre-operative magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of 210 adult glioblastoma patients from a single institution. They used a fully automated tool to analyze the MRIs. 

The investigators found that higher edema levels (tumor-related) and higher CSF volume (brain-related) detected at diagnosis were independently associated with decreased survival in glioblastoma patients. They confirmed the findings in a second dataset of 96 glioblastoma patients from The Cancer Imaging Archive. 

The findings, reported in the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, highlight the importance of broader quantitative imaging analyses of brain tumors and invite efforts to understand the tumor-related causes of increased edema and CSF volume.