Oligodendroglial tumors may not be distinguished easily from other brain tumors based on clinical presentation and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) alone. Identification of these tumors however may have therapeutic consequences. The purpose of this study was to characterize and identify oligodendrogliomas by their metabolic profile as measured by (1)H MR spectroscopic imaging (MRSI). Fifteen patients with oligodendroglial tumors (eight high-grade oligodendrogliomas, seven low-grade oligodendrogliomas) underwent MRI and short echo time (1)H MRSI examinations. Five main metabolites found in brain MR spectra were quantified and expressed as ratios of tumor to contralateral white matter tissue. The level of lipids plus lactate was also assessed in the tumor. For comparison six patients with a low grade astrocytoma were also included in the study. The metabolic profile of oligodendrogliomas showed a decreased level of N-acetylaspartate and increased levels of choline-containing compounds and glutamine plus glutamate compared with white matter. The level of glutamine plus glutamate was significantly higher in low-grade oligodendrogliomas than in low-grade astrocytomas and may serve as a metabolic marker in diagnosis and treatment planning. In high-grade oligodendrogliomas large resonances of lipids plus lactate were observed in contrast to low-grade tumors.
Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.