Increased signal intensity within glioblastoma resection cavities on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery imaging to detect early progressive disease in patients receiving radiotherapy with concomitant temozolomide therapy

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Department of Radiology

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Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Neoplasms | Nervous System Diseases | Neurology | Radiology


PURPOSE: Our study tested the diagnostic accuracy of increased signal intensity (SI) within FLAIR MR images of resection cavities in differentiating early progressive disease (ePD) from pseudoprogression (PsP) in patients with glioblastoma treated with radiotherapy with concomitant temozolomide therapy.

METHODS: In this retrospective study approved by our Institutional Review Board, we evaluated the records of 122 consecutive patients with partially or totally resected glioblastoma. Region of interest (ROI) analysis assessed 33 MR examinations from 11 subjects with histologically confirmed ePD and 37 MR examinations from 14 subjects with PsP (5 histologically confirmed, 9 clinically diagnosed). After applying an N4 bias correction algorithm to remove B0 field distortion and to standardize image intensities and then normalizing the intensities based on an ROI of uninvolved white matter from the contralateral hemisphere, the mean intensities of the ROI from within the resection cavities were calculated. Measures of diagnostic performance were calculated from the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve using the threshold intensity that maximized differentiation. Subgroup analysis explored differences between the patients with biopsy-confirmed disease.

RESULTS: At an optimal threshold intensity of 2.9, the area under the ROC curve (AUROC) for FLAIR to differentiate ePD from PsP was 0.79 (95% confidence interval 0.686-0.873) with a sensitivity of 0.818 and specificity of 0.694. The AUROC increased to 0.86 when only the patients with biopsy-confirmed PsP were considered.

CONCLUSIONS: Increased SI within the resection cavity of FLAIR images is not a highly specific sign of ePD in glioblastoma patients treated with the Stupp protocol.


Glioblastoma, MRI, Pseudoprogression

DOI of Published Version



Neuroradiology. 2018 Jan;60(1):35-42. doi: 10.1007/s00234-017-1941-9. Epub 2017 Nov 4. Link to article on publisher's site

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