Object: It is often difficult to delineate the extent of invasion of high- and low-grade gliomas into normal brain tissue by using conventional T1- and T2-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Knowledge of the relationship between the tumor infiltration zone and normal brain, however, is one of the prerequisites for performing as radical a tumor resection as possible. Proton MR spectroscopy allows noninvasive measurements of the concentrations and spatial distributions of brain metabolites and, therefore, may provide biochemical information in vivo, that is useful in distinguishing pathological from normal areas of the brain. The authors have developed a method to use the properties of MR spectroscopy to investigate intraoperatively pathological changes in the spatial distribution of choline (Cho)-containing compounds, total creatine, and N-acetylaspartate (NAA) in brain tumors with the aid of frameless stereotaxy.
Methods: Maps of the Cho/NAA ratio were calculated and automatic segmentation of the tumors was performed. Spectroscopic images of the segmented tumor were matched to an anatomical three-dimensional (3D) MR imaging set by applying a fully automated mutual-information algorithm. The resulting 3D MR image can be used subsequently for neurosurgical planning, transfer to a frameless stereotactic system, and display in the navigation microscope during surgery leading to 1H-MR spectroscopy-guided navigation.
Conclusions: This method may allow better intraoperative identification of tumor border zones based on metabolic changes due to tumor infiltration.