The evaluation of therapeutic response using cross-sectional imaging techniques, particularly gadolinium-enhanced MRI, is an integral part of the clinical management of brain tumors in veterinary patients. Spontaneous canine brain tumors are increasingly recognized and utilized as a translational model for the study of human brain tumors. However, no standardized neuroimaging response assessment criteria have been formulated for use in veterinary clinical trials. Previous studies have found that the pathophysiologic features inherent to brain tumors and the surrounding brain complicate the use of the response evaluation criteria in solid tumors (RECIST) assessment system. Objectives of this review are to describe strengths and limitations of published imaging-based brain tumor response criteria and propose a system for use in veterinary patients. The widely used human Macdonald and response assessment in neuro-oncology (RANO) criteria are reviewed and described as to how they can be applied to veterinary brain tumors. Discussion points will include current challenges associated with the interpretation of brain tumor therapeutic responses such as imaging pseudophenomena and treatment-induced necrosis, and how advancements in perfusion imaging, positron emission tomography, and magnetic resonance spectroscopy have shown promise in differentiating tumor progression from therapy-induced changes. Finally, although objective endpoints such as MR imaging and survival estimates will likely continue to comprise the foundations for outcome measures in veterinary brain tumor clinical trials, we propose that in order to provide a more relevant therapeutic response metric for veterinary patients, composite response systems should be formulated and validated that combine imaging and clinical assessment criteria.
Keywords: MRI; brain tumor; neurology; oncology.
© 2013 American College of Veterinary Radiology.