The vast majority of malignant gliomas relapse after surgery and standard radio-chemotherapy. Novel molecular and cellular therapies are thus being developed, targeting specific aspects of tumor growth. While histopathology remains the gold standard for tumor classification, neuroimaging has over the years taken a central role in the diagnosis and treatment follow up of brain tumors. It is used to detect and localize lesions, define the target area for biopsies, plan surgical and radiation interventions and assess tumor progression and treatment outcome. In recent years the application of novel drugs including anti-angiogenic agents that affect the tumor vasculature, has drastically modulated the outcome of brain tumor imaging. To properly evaluate the effects of emerging experimental therapies and successfully support treatment decisions, neuroimaging will have to evolve. Multi-modal imaging systems with existing and new contrast agents, molecular tracers, technological advances and advanced data analysis can all contribute to the establishment of disease relevant biomarkers that will improve disease management and patient care. In this review, we address the challenges of glioma imaging in the context of novel molecular and cellular therapies, and take a prospective look at emerging experimental and pre-clinical imaging techniques that bear the promise of meeting these challenges.
The present trend in dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI is to increase the number of estimated perfusion parameters using complex pharmacokinetic models. However, less attention is given to the precision analysis of the parameter estimates. In this paper, the distributed capillary adiabatic tissue homogeneity pharmacokinetic model is extended by the bolus arrival time formulated as a free continuous parameter. With the continuous formulation of all perfusion parameters, it is possible to use standard gradient-based optimization algorithms in the approximation of the tissue concentration time sequences. This new six-parameter model is investigated by comparing Monte-Carlo simulations with theoretically derived covariance matrices. The covariance-matrix approach is extended from the usual analysis of the primary perfusion parameters of the pharmacokinetic model to the analysis of the perfusion parameters derived from the primary ones. The results indicate that the precision of the estimated perfusion parameters can be described by the covariance matrix for signal-to-noise ratio higher than~20dB. The application of the new analysis model on a real DCE-MRI data set is also presented.
To study the feasibility of dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) for assessment of tumour microvasculature in endometrial carcinoma patients, and to explore correlations with histological subtype, clinical course and microstructural characteristics based on apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values.
A new signal model and processing method for quantitative ultrasound perfusion analysis is presented, called bolus-and-burst. The method has the potential to provide absolute values of blood flow, blood volume, and mean transit time. Furthermore, it provides an estimate of the local arterial input function which characterizes the arterial tree, allowing accurate estimation of the bolus arrival time. The method combines two approaches to ultrasound perfusion analysis: bolus-tracking and burst-replenishment. A pharmacokinetic model based on the concept of arterial input functions and tissue residue functions is used to model both the bolus and replenishment parts of the recording. The pharmacokinetic model is fitted to the data using blind deconvolution. A preliminary assessment of the new perfusion-analysis method is presented on clinical recordings.
The aim of this study was to determine whether there are differences in absolute blood flow between patients with Crohns disease with inflammation or fibrosis using contrast-enhanced ultrasound. Eighteen patients with fibrotic disease and 19 patients with inflammation were examined. Video sequences of contrast data were analyzed using a pharmacokinetic model to extract the arterial input and tissue residue functions with a custom software, enabling calculation of the absolute values for mean transit time, blood volume and flow. Feasibility of the examination was 89%. The fibrosis group had lower blood volume (0.9 vs. 3.4 mL per 100 mL tissue; p = 0.001) and flow (22.6 vs. 45.3 mL/min per 100 mL tissue; p = 0.003) compared with the inflammation group. There was no significant difference in mean transit time (3.9 vs. 5.5 s). In conclusion, absolute perfusion measurement in the gastrointestinal wall using contrast-enhanced ultrasound is feasible. There seems to be reduced blood volume and blood flow in patients with fibrotic disease.
Multipass dynamic MRI and pharmacokinetic modeling are used to estimate perfusion parameters of leaky capillaries. Curve fitting and nonblind deconvolution are the established methods to derive the perfusion estimates from the observed arterial input function (AIF) and tissue tracer concentration function. These nonblind methods are sensitive to errors in the AIF, measured in some nearby artery or estimated by multichannel blind deconvolution. Here, a single-channel blind deconvolution algorithm is presented, which only uses a single tissue tracer concentration function to estimate the corresponding AIF and tissue impulse response function. That way, many errors affecting these functions are reduced. The validity of the algorithm is supported by simulations and tests on real data from mouse. The corresponding nonblind and multichannel methods are also presented.
Bevacizumab, an antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), is a promising, yet controversial, drug in human glioblastoma treatment (GBM). Its effects on tumor burden, recurrence, and vascular physiology are unclear. We therefore determined the tumor response to bevacizumab at the phenotypic, physiological, and molecular level in a clinically relevant intracranial GBM xenograft model derived from patient tumor spheroids. Using anatomical and physiological magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we show that bevacizumab causes a strong decrease in contrast enhancement while having only a marginal effect on tumor growth. Interestingly, dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI revealed a significant reduction of the vascular supply, as evidenced by a decrease in intratumoral blood flow and volume and, at the morphological level, by a strong reduction of large- and medium-sized blood vessels. Electron microscopy revealed fewer mitochondria in the treated tumor cells. Importantly, this was accompanied by a 68% increase in infiltrating tumor cells in the brain parenchyma. At the molecular level we observed an increase in lactate and alanine metabolites, together with an induction of hypoxia-inducible factor 1? and an activation of the phosphatidyl-inositol-3-kinase pathway. These data strongly suggest that vascular remodeling induced by anti-VEGF treatment leads to a more hypoxic tumor microenvironment. This favors a metabolic change in the tumor cells toward glycolysis, which leads to enhanced tumor cell invasion into the normal brain. The present work underlines the need to combine anti-angiogenic treatment in GBMs with drugs targeting specific signaling or metabolic pathways linked to the glycolytic phenotype.
Diving is associated with a risk of cerebral decompression illness, and the prevalence of neurological symptoms is higher in divers compared with control groups. Microvascular dysfunction due to gas microembolism and exposure to hyperoxia are possible mechanisms, which may result in cerebral diffusion and perfusion deficits.
Arterial input functions may differ between brain regions due to delay and dispersion effects in the vascular supply network. Unless corrected for, these differences may degrade quantitative estimations of cerebral blood flow in dynamic susceptibility contrast magnetic resonance perfusion imaging (DSC-MRI).
An increasing number of multimodal images represent a valuable increase in available image information, but at the same time it complicates the extraction of diagnostic information across the images. Multispectral analysis (MSA) has the potential to simplify this problem substantially as unlimited number of images can be combined, and tissue properties across the images can be extracted automatically.
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