Use of MR spectroscopy and functional imaging in the treatment planning of gliomas
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Routine anatomical imaging with CT and MRI does not reliably indicate the true extent or the most malignant areas of gliomas and cannot identify the functionally critical parts of the brain. The aim of the study was to see if the use of MR spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) along with functional MRI (fMRI) can better define both the target and the critical structures to be avoided to improve radiation delivery in gliomas. 12 patients with gliomas underwent multivoxel MRS and functional imaging using GE processing software. The choline to creatine ratio (Cho:Cr), which represents the degree of abnormality for each individual voxel on MRSI, was derived, converted into a grayscale grading system, fused to the MRI images and then transferred to the planning CT images. An intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) plan was developed using the dose constraints based on both the anatomical and the functionally critical regions. Cho:Cr consistently identified the gross tumour volume (GTV) within the microscopic disease (clinical target volume, CTV) and allowed dose painting using IMRT. No correlation between MRSI based Cho:Cr > or =2 and MR defined CTV nor their location was noted. However, MRSI defined Cho:Cr > or =3 was smaller by 40% compared with post-contrast T1 weighted MRI defined GTV volumes. fMRI helped in optimizing the orientation of the beams. In conclusion, both MRSI and fMRI provide additional information to conventional imaging that may guide dose painting in treatment planning of gliomas. A Phase I IMRT dose intensification trial in gliomas using this information is planned.