Multi-Parametric MRI and Texture Analysis to Visualize Spatial Histologic Heterogeneity and Tumor Extent in Glioblastoma

PLoS One. 2015 Nov 24;10(11):e0141506. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141506. eCollection 2015.


Background: Genetic profiling represents the future of neuro-oncology but suffers from inadequate biopsies in heterogeneous tumors like Glioblastoma (GBM). Contrast-enhanced MRI (CE-MRI) targets enhancing core (ENH) but yields adequate tumor in only ~60% of cases. Further, CE-MRI poorly localizes infiltrative tumor within surrounding non-enhancing parenchyma, or brain-around-tumor (BAT), despite the importance of characterizing this tumor segment, which universally recurs. In this study, we use multiple texture analysis and machine learning (ML) algorithms to analyze multi-parametric MRI, and produce new images indicating tumor-rich targets in GBM.

Methods: We recruited primary GBM patients undergoing image-guided biopsies and acquired pre-operative MRI: CE-MRI, Dynamic-Susceptibility-weighted-Contrast-enhanced-MRI, and Diffusion Tensor Imaging. Following image coregistration and region of interest placement at biopsy locations, we compared MRI metrics and regional texture with histologic diagnoses of high- vs low-tumor content (≥80% vs <80% tumor nuclei) for corresponding samples. In a training set, we used three texture analysis algorithms and three ML methods to identify MRI-texture features that optimized model accuracy to distinguish tumor content. We confirmed model accuracy in a separate validation set.

Results: We collected 82 biopsies from 18 GBMs throughout ENH and BAT. The MRI-based model achieved 85% cross-validated accuracy to diagnose high- vs low-tumor in the training set (60 biopsies, 11 patients). The model achieved 81.8% accuracy in the validation set (22 biopsies, 7 patients).

Conclusion: Multi-parametric MRI and texture analysis can help characterize and visualize GBM's spatial histologic heterogeneity to identify regional tumor-rich biopsy targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods
  • Glioblastoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Image-Guided Biopsy / methods*
  • Machine Learning
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Radiography


  • Contrast Media