An analysis of image texture, tumor location, and MGMT promoter methylation in glioblastoma using magnetic resonance imaging

Sylvia Drabycz, Gloria Roldán, Paula de Robles, Daniel Adler, John B. McIntyre, Anthony M. Magliocco, J. Gregory Cairncross, J. Ross Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


In glioblastoma (GBM), promoter methylation of the DNA repair gene O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) is associated with benefit from chemotherapy. Correlations between MGMT promoter methylation and visually assessed imaging features on magnetic resonance (MR) have been reported suggesting that noninvasive detection of MGMT methylation status might be possible. Our study assessed whether MGMT methylation status in GBM could be predicted using MR imaging. We conducted a retrospective analysis of MR images in patients with newly diagnosed GBM. Tumor texture was assessed by two methods. First, we analyzed texture by expert consensus describing the tumor borders, presence or absence of cysts, pattern of enhancement, and appearance of tumor signal in T2-weighted images. Then, we applied space-frequency texture analysis based on the S-transform. Tumor location within the brain was determined using automatized image registration and segmentation techniques. Their association with MGMT methylation was analyzed. We confirmed that ring enhancement assessed visually is significantly associated with unmethylated MGMT promoter status (P = 0.006). Texture features on T2-weighted images assessed by the space-frequency analysis were significantly different between methylated and unmethylated cases (P < 0.05). However, blinded classification of MGMT promoter methylation status reached an accuracy of only 71%. There were no significant differences in the locations of methylated and unmethylated GBM tumors. Our results provide further evidence that individual MR features are associated with MGMT methylation but better algorithms for predicting methylation status are needed. The relevance of this study lies on the application of novel techniques for the analysis of anatomical MR images of patients with GBM allowing the evaluation of subtleties not seen by an observer and facilitating the standardization of the methods, decreasing the potential for interobserver bias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1398-1405
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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