Peritumoral diffusion tensor imaging of high-grade gliomas and metastatic brain tumors

Stanley Lu, Daniel Ahn, Glyn Johnson, Soonmee Cha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

321 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is an advanced MR technique that describes the movement of water molecules by using two metrics, mean diffusivity (MD), and fractional anisotropy (FA), which represent the magnitude and directionality of water diffusion, respectively. We hypothesize that alterations in these values within the tissue surrounding brain tumors reflect combinations of increased water content and tumor infiltration and that these changes can be used to differentiate high-grade gliomas from metastatic lesions. METHODS: DTI was performed in 12 patients with high-grade gliomas and in 12 with metastatic lesions. DTI measurements were obtained from regions of interest (ROIs) placed on normal-appearing white matter and on the vasogenic edema, the T2 signal intensity abnormality surrounding each tumor. RESULTS: The peritumoral region of both gliomas and metastatic tumors displayed significant increases in MD (P < .005) and significant decreases in FA (P < .005) when compared with those of normal-appearing white matter. Furthermore, the peritumoral MD of metastatic lesions measured significantly greater than that of gliomas (P < .005). Peritumoral FA measurements, on the other hand, showed no such discrepancy. CONCLUSION: When compared with an internal control, diffusion metrics are clearly altered within the vasogenic edema surrounding both high-grade gliomas and metastatic tumors, reflecting increased extracellular water. Although peritumoral MD can be used to distinguish high-grade gliomas from metastatic tumors, peritumoral FA demonstrated no statistically significant difference. The FA changes surrounding gliomas, therefore, can be attributed not only to increased water content, but also to tumor infiltration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)937-941
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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