MRI of tumor surface regularity may aid surgery, predict survival in glioblastoma patients

A team of international researchers published a study online April 6 in Radiology that found surface regularity taken from high-resolution contrast-enhanced pretreatment volumetric T1-weighted MRIs to be an accurate predictor of survival in patients with specific malignant brain or spine tumors.

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most frequent malignant primary brain tumor in the U.S., according to the study. While tumor surface properties (how much the tumor surface differs from a sphere of the same volume) are known to contain valuable information on underlying growth processes, they have been rarely studied.

“These features have been found to contain prognostic and staging information, typically in combination with other variables. Only recently, however, the growing standardization of high-resolution imaging in GBM has allowed these parameters to be reliably computed,” wrote Víctor M. Pérez-García, PhD, with the Department of Radiology at the Instituto Valenciano de Oncologia, in Spain, and colleagues.

In this study, data from the Cancer Imaging Archive on 165 patients from five local institutions were included in the discovery group, with 51 patients involved in the independent validation cohort. All had undergone volumetric T1-weighted pretreatment contrast-enhanced MR imaging sequencing.

Surface regularity proved a “powerful” predictor of survival in the discovery and validation groups.

“The surface regularity obtained from high-resolution contrast-enhanced pretreatment volumetric T1-weighted MR images is a predictor of survival in patients with GBM,” wrote Pérez-García et al. “This imaging biomarker may help in classifying patients for surgery.”