PurposeEvaluation of nonenhancing tumor (NET) burden is an important yet challenging part of brain tumor response assessment. This study focuses on using dual-echo turbo spin-echo MRI as a means of quickly estimating tissue T2, which can be used to objectively define NET burden.
Experimental designA series of experiments were performed to establish the use of T2 maps for defining NET burden. First, variation in T2 was determined using the American College of Radiology (ACR) water phantoms in 16 scanners evaluated over 3 years. Next, the sensitivity and specificity of T2 maps for delineating NET from other tissues were examined. Then, T2-defined NET was used to predict survival in separate subsets of patients with glioblastoma treated with radiotherapy, concurrent radiation, and chemotherapy, or bevacizumab at recurrence.
ResultsVariability in T2 in the ACR phantom was 3% to 5%. In training data, ROC analysis suggested that 125 ms < T2 < 250 ms could delineate NET with a sensitivity of >90% and specificity of >65%. Using this criterion, NET burden after completion of radiotherapy alone, or concurrent radiotherapy, and chemotherapy was shown to be predictive of survival (Cox, P < 0.05), and the change in NET volume before and after bevacizumab therapy in recurrent glioblastoma was also a predictive of survival (P < 0.05).
ConclusionsT2 maps using dual-echo data are feasible, stable, and can be used to objectively define NET burden for use in brain tumor characterization, prognosis, and response assessment. The use of effective T2 maps for defining NET burden should be validated in a randomized, clinical trial.