Object: The purpose of this report is to demonstrate the value of functional brain mapping using the positron emission tomography (PET) method for preoperative neurosurgical planning in children with brain tumors. Brain maps were used to characterize the relationship between potentially resectable tumors and functionally eloquent brain areas.
Methods: Five children, ranging in age from 3 to 13 years, with hemispheric brain tumors adjacent to eloquent cortex were studied. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was used to identify the brain tumors; PET imaging after injection of [18F] fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), [11C]L-methionine (CMET), or a combination of the two was performed to grade the tumors; and a [15O] H2O uptake study was used to characterize the anatomical relationships of the tumors to functional cortex. The cortical activation maps were obtained during control periods and during behavioral tasks and were used to document motor, visual, and speech and language organizational areas. Wada tests were performed in two patients. Language and speech activation was concordant with the results of Wada testing.
Conclusions: Functional brain mapping using PET scans and coregistered MR images provided the neurosurgeon with precise definitions of structural and functional cortical areas; this altered surgical management in some cases and/or was used to predict outcome. The combination of PET imaging with FDG and/or CMET and measurements of [15O] water uptake was useful in characterizing and grading tumors and instrumental in achieving effective neurosurgical planning. Postoperative results in the five cases suggest that preoperative functional brain mapping has the potential to improve outcome by defining a surgical plan to maximize resection and minimize the risk of neurological sequelae.