An analysis of image texture, tumor location, and MGMT promoter methylation in glioblastoma using magnetic resonance imaging

Neuroimage. 2010 Jan 15;49(2):1398-405. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.09.049. Epub 2009 Sep 28.


In glioblastoma (GBM), promoter methylation of the DNA repair gene O(6)-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) is associated with benefit from chemotherapy. Correlations between MGMT promoter methylation and visually assessed imaging features on magnetic resonance (MR) have been reported suggesting that noninvasive detection of MGMT methylation status might be possible. Our study assessed whether MGMT methylation status in GBM could be predicted using MR imaging. We conducted a retrospective analysis of MR images in patients with newly diagnosed GBM. Tumor texture was assessed by two methods. First, we analyzed texture by expert consensus describing the tumor borders, presence or absence of cysts, pattern of enhancement, and appearance of tumor signal in T2-weighted images. Then, we applied space-frequency texture analysis based on the S-transform. Tumor location within the brain was determined using automatized image registration and segmentation techniques. Their association with MGMT methylation was analyzed. We confirmed that ring enhancement assessed visually is significantly associated with unmethylated MGMT promoter status (P=0.006). Texture features on T2-weighted images assessed by the space-frequency analysis were significantly different between methylated and unmethylated cases (P<0.05). However, blinded classification of MGMT promoter methylation status reached an accuracy of only 71%. There were no significant differences in the locations of methylated and unmethylated GBM tumors. Our results provide further evidence that individual MR features are associated with MGMT methylation but better algorithms for predicting methylation status are needed. The relevance of this study lies on the application of novel techniques for the analysis of anatomical MR images of patients with GBM allowing the evaluation of subtleties not seen by an observer and facilitating the standardization of the methods, decreasing the potential for interobserver bias.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Modification Methylases / genetics
  • DNA Modification Methylases / metabolism*
  • DNA Repair Enzymes / genetics
  • DNA Repair Enzymes / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism*


  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • DNA Modification Methylases
  • MGMT protein, human
  • DNA Repair Enzymes