Metabolic profiles of human brain tumors using quantitative in vivo 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy

Magn Reson Med. 2003 Feb;49(2):223-32. doi: 10.1002/mrm.10367.


Proton spectroscopy can noninvasively provide useful information on brain tumor type and grade. Short- (30 ms) and long- (136 ms) echo time (TE) (1)H spectra were acquired from normal white matter (NWM), meningiomas, grade II astrocytomas, anaplastic astrocytomas, glioblastomas, and metastases. Very low myo-Inositol ([mI]) and creatine ([Cr]) were characteristic of meningiomas, and high [mI] characteristic of grade II astrocytomas. Tumor choline ([Cho]) was greater than NWM and increased with grade for grade II and anaplastic astrocytomas, but was highly variable for glioblastomas. Higher [Cho] and [Cr] correlated with low lipid and lactate (P < 0.05), indicating a dilution of metabolite concentrations due to necrosis in high-grade tumors. Metabolite peak area ratios showed no correlation with lipids and mI/Cho (at TE = 30 ms), and Cr/Cho (at TE = 136 ms) best correlated with tumor grade. The quantified lipid, macromolecule, and lactate levels increased with grade of tumor, consistent with progression from hypoxia to necrosis. Quantification of lipids and macromolecules at short TE provided a good marker for tumor grade, and a scatter plot of the sum of alanine, lactate, and delta 1.3 lipid signals vs. mI/Cho provided a simple way to separate most tumors by type and grade.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alanine / analysis
  • Aspartic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Aspartic Acid / analysis
  • Astrocytoma / chemistry
  • Brain Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary
  • Choline / analysis
  • Creatine / analysis
  • Glioblastoma / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Inositol / analysis
  • Lactic Acid / analysis
  • Lipids / analysis
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Meningioma / chemistry


  • Lipids
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • Inositol
  • N-acetylaspartate
  • Creatine
  • Choline
  • Alanine