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Radial expansion rates and tumor growth kinetics predict malignant transformation in contrast-enhancing low-grade diffuse astrocytoma.

  • Author(s): Hathout, Leith;
  • Pope, Whitney B;
  • Lai, Albert;
  • Nghiemphu, Phioanh L;
  • Cloughesy, Timothy F;
  • Ellingson, Benjamin M
  • et al.

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Contrast-enhancing low-grade diffuse astrocytomas are an understudied, aggressive subtype at increased risk because of few radiographic indications of malignant transformation. In the current study, we tested whether tumor growth kinetics could identify tumors that undergo malignant transformation to higher grades.


Thirty patients with untreated diffuse astrocytomas (WHO II) that underwent tumor progression were enrolled. Contrast-enhancing and T2 hyperintense tumor regions were segmented and the radius of tumor at two time points leading to progression was estimated. Radial expansion rates were used to estimate proliferation and invasion rates using a biomathematical model.


Radial expansion rates for both contrast-enhancing (p = 0.0040) and T2 hyperintense regions (p = 0.0016) were significantly higher in WHO II-IV tumors compared with nontransformers. Similarly, model estimates showed a significantly higher proliferation (p = 0.0324) and invasion rate (p = 0.0050) in WHO II-IV tumors compared with nontransformers.


Tumor growth kinetics can identify contrast-enhancing diffuse astrocytomas undergoing malignant transformation.

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