Emerging Strategies and Future Perspective in Neuro-Oncology Using Transcranial Focused Ultrasonography Technology

World Neurosurg. 2018 Sep;117:84-91. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2018.05.239. Epub 2018 Jun 8.


Background: Despite the progress achieved in recent years, the prognosis of patients with primary brain tumors remains poor. Research efforts have therefore focused on identifying more effective and minimally invasive treatment methods. Magnetic resonance-guided transcranial focused ultrasonography (MRgFUS) is a consolidated minimally invasive therapeutic technique, which has recently acquired a role also in the treatment of some nononcologic intracranial diseases.

Methods: We reviewed the latest studies to take stock of the potential of MRgFUS.

Results: The objective of the research in the last decade was to apply FUS also to the treatment of intracranial neoplastic diseases, using both the thermal effects (thermal ablation) and, above all, the ability to permeabilize the blood-brain barrier and modify the tumor microenvironment. This strategy may allow the use of drugs that are poorly active on the central nervous system or active selectively at high doses, minimize the side effects, and substantially modify the prognosis of patients affected by these diseases.

Conclusions: In the future, targeted drug delivery, immunotherapy, and gene therapy will probably become main players in the treatment of brain neoplasms, with the aid of MRgFUS. In this way, it will be possible to directly intervene on tumor cells and preserve healthy tissue.

Keywords: Blood-brain barrier; Brain tumors; Focused ultrasonography; High-intensity focused ultrasonography; Mininvasive neurosurgery; Nanoparticles; Neuro-oncology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery*
  • High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound Ablation* / methods
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Interventional
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods