Image Analysis Reveals Microstructural and Volumetric Differences in Glioblastoma Patients With and Without Preoperative Seizures

Cancers (Basel). 2020 Apr 17;12(4):994. doi: 10.3390/cancers12040994.


Purpose: Seizures related to tumor growth are common in glioma patients, especially in low-grade glioma patients this is often the first tumor manifestation. We hypothesize that there are associations between preoperative seizures and morphologic features (e.g., tumor size, location) and histogram features in patients with glioblastoma (GB). Methods: Retrospectively, 160 consecutive patients with initial diagnosis and surgery of GB (WHO IV) and preoperative MRI were analyzed. Preoperative MRI sequences were co-registered (T2-FLAIR, T1-contrast, DTI) and tumors were segmented by a neuroradiologist using the software ITK-snap blinded to the clinical data. Tumor volume (FLAIR, T1-contrast) and histogram analyses of ADC- and FA-maps were recorded in the contrast enhancing tumor part (CET) and the non-enhancing peritumoral edema (FLAIR). Location was determined after co-registration of the data with an atlas. Permutation-based multiple-testing adjusted t statistics were calculated to compare imaging variables between patients with and without seizures. Results: Patients with seizures showed significantly smaller tumors (CET, adj. p = 0.029) than patients without preoperative seizures. Less seizures were observed in patients with tumor location in the right cingulate gyrus (adj. p = 0.048) and in the right caudate nucleus (adj. p = 0.009). Significant differences of histogram analyses of FA in the contrast enhancing tumor part were observed between patients with and without seizures considering also tumor location and size. Conclusion: Preoperative seizures in GB patients are associated with lower preoperative tumor volume. The different histogram analyses suggest that there might be microstructural differences in the contrast enhancing tumor part of patients with seizures measured by fractional anisotropy. Higher variance of GB presenting without seizures might indicate a more aggressive growth of these tumors.

Keywords: diffusion-tensor-imaging; glioblastoma; seizures.