Advanced Imaging Techniques for Radiotherapy Planning of Gliomas

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 3;13(5):1063. doi: 10.3390/cancers13051063.


The accuracy of target delineation in radiation treatment (RT) planning of cerebral gliomas is crucial to achieve high tumor control, while minimizing treatment-related toxicity. Conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), including contrast-enhanced T1-weighted and fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) sequences, represents the current standard imaging modality for target volume delineation of gliomas. However, conventional sequences have limited capability to discriminate treatment-related changes from viable tumors, owing to the low specificity of increased blood-brain barrier permeability and peritumoral edema. Advanced physiology-based MRI techniques, such as MR spectroscopy, diffusion MRI and perfusion MRI, have been developed for the biological characterization of gliomas and may circumvent these limitations, providing additional metabolic, structural, and hemodynamic information for treatment planning and monitoring. Radionuclide imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography (PET) with amino acid radiopharmaceuticals, are also increasingly used in the workup of primary brain tumors, and their integration in RT planning is being evaluated in specialized centers. This review focuses on the basic principles and clinical results of advanced MRI and PET imaging techniques that have promise as a complement to RT planning of gliomas.

Keywords: FET; PET; advanced MRI; amino acid radiopharmaceuticals; diffusion-weighted imaging; glioma; hypoxia; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; perfusion-weighted imaging; radiation treatment planning.

Publication types

  • Review