Simulation of anisotropic growth of low-grade gliomas using diffusion tensor imaging

Magn Reson Med. 2005 Sep;54(3):616-24. doi: 10.1002/mrm.20625.


A recent computational model of brain tumor growth, developed to better describe how gliomas invade through the adjacent brain parenchyma, is based on two major elements: cell proliferation and isotropic cell diffusion. On the basis of this model, glioma growth has been simulated in a virtual brain, provided by a 3D segmented MRI atlas. However, it is commonly accepted that glial cells preferentially migrate along the direction of fiber tracts. Therefore, in this paper, the model has been improved by including anisotropic extension of gliomas. The method is based on a cell diffusion tensor derived from water diffusion tensor (as given by MRI diffusion tensor imaging). Results of simulations have been compared with two clinical examples demonstrating typical growth patterns of low-grade gliomas centered around the insula. The shape and the kinetic evolution are better simulated with anisotropic rather than isotropic diffusion. The best fit is obtained when the anisotropy of the cell diffusion tensor is increased to greater anisotropy than the observed water diffusion tensor. The shape of the tumor is also influenced by the initial location of the tumor. Anisotropic brain tumor growth simulations provide a means to determine the initial location of a low-grade glioma as well as its cell diffusion tensor, both of which might reflect the biological characteristics of invasion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Glioma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted