Clinical Validation of Automatable Gaussian Normalized CBV in Brain Tumor Analysis: Superior Reproducibility and Slightly Better Association with Survival than Current Standard Manual Normal Appearing White Matter Normalization

Transl Oncol. 2018 Dec;11(6):1398-1405. doi: 10.1016/j.tranon.2018.07.017. Epub 2018 Sep 11.


Purpose: To validate Gaussian normalized cerebral blood volume (GN-nCBV) by association with overall survival (OS) in newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients and compare this association with current standard white matter normalized cerebral blood volume (WN-nCBV).

Methods: We retrieved spin-echo echo-planar dynamic susceptibility contrast MRI acquired after maximal resection and prior to radiation therapy between 2006 and 2011 in 51 adult patients (28 male, 23 female; age 23-87 years) with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. Software code was developed in house to perform Gaussian normalization of CBV to the standard deviation of the whole brain CBV. Three expert readers manually selected regions of interest in tumor and normal-appearing white matter on CBV maps. Receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curves associating nCBV with 15-month OS were calculated for both GN-nCBV and WN-nCBV. Reproducibility and interoperator variability were compared using within-subject coefficient of variation (wCV) and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs).

Results: GN-nCBV ICC (≥0.82) and wCV (≤21%) were superior to WN-nCBV ICC (0.54-0.55) and wCV (≥46%). The area under the ROC curve analysis demonstrated both GN-nCBV and WN-nCBV to be good predictors of OS, but GN-nCBV was consistently superior, although the difference was not statistically significant.

Conclusion: GN-nCBV has a slightly better association with clinical gold standard OS than conventional WM-nCBV in our glioblastoma patient cohort. This equivalent or superior validity, combined with the advantages of higher reproducibility, lower interoperator variability, and easier automation, makes GN-nCBV superior to WM-nCBV for clinical and research use in glioma patients. We recommend widespread adoption and incorporation of GN-nCBV into commercial dynamic susceptibility contrast processing software.