Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Background: Although conventional MR imaging (MRI) is the most widely used non-invasive technique for brain tumor grading, its accuracy has been reported to be relatively low. Advanced MR techniques, such as perfusion-weighted imaging (PWI), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), could predict neoplastic histology, but their added value over conventional MRI is still open to debate. Methods: We prospectively analyzed 129 patients diagnosed with primary brain tumors (118 gliomas) classified as low-grade in 30 cases and high-grade in 99 cases. Results: Significant differences were obtained in high-grade tumors for conventional MRI variables (necrosis, enhancement, edema, hemorrhage, and neovascularization); high relative cerebral blood volume values (rCBV), low relative apparent diffusion coefficients (rADC), high ratio of N-acetyl-aspartate/creatine at short echo time (TE) and high choline/creatine at long TE. Among conventional MRI variables, the presence of enhancement and necrosis were demonstrated to be the best predictors of high grade in primary brain tumors (sensitivity 95.9%; specificity 70%). The best results in primary brain tumors were obtained for enhancement, necrosis, and rADC (sensitivity 98.9%; specificity 75.9%). Necrosis and enhancement were the only predictors of high grade in gliomas (sensitivity 97.6%; specificity 76%) when all the magnetic resonance variables were combined. Conclusions: MRI is highly accurate in the assessment of tumor grade. The combination of conventional MRI features with advanced MR variables showed only improved tumor grading by adding rADC to conventional MRI variables in primary brain tumors.