Oligodendrogliomas tend to infiltrate the frontal aslant tract, whereas astrocytomas tend to displace it

Neuroradiology. 2023 Jul;65(7):1127-1131. doi: 10.1007/s00234-023-03153-6. Epub 2023 May 2.


Introduction: MR-tractography is increasingly used in neurosurgical practice to evaluate the anatomical relationships between glioma and nearby subcortical tracts. In some patients, the subcortical tracts seem displaced by the glioma, while in other patients, the subcortical tracts seem infiltrated without displacement. At this point, it is unknown whether these different patterns are related to tumor type. The aim of this exploratory study was to investigate whether tumor type is related to the spatial tractography pattern of the frontal aslant tract (FAT) in low-grade gliomas (LGGs).

Methods: In 64 IDH-mutated LGG patients, the FAT was generated using a pipeline for automatic tractography. In 41 patients, the glioma adjoined the FAT, and four blinded reviewers independently assessed the following two dichotomous categories (yes/no): (i) glioma displaces the tract, and (ii) glioma infiltrates the tract.

Results: Fisher's exact tests demonstrated strong and significant positive associations between displacement and astrocytomas (p = .002, φ = .497) and infiltration and oligodendrogliomas (p = .004, φ = .484). The interobserver agreement was good for both categories: (i) κ = 0.76 and (ii) κ = 0.71.

Conclusion: High sensitivity but low specificity for displacement in astrocytomas demonstrates that in the case of an astrocytoma, the tract is most likely displaced, but that displacement in itself is not necessarily predictive for astrocytomas, as oligodendrogliomas may both infiltrate and displace a tract. Overall, these results demonstrate that oligodendrogliomas tend to infiltrate the nearby subcortical tract, whereas astrocytomas only tend to displace it.

Keywords: Astrocytoma; Frontal aslant tract; Low-grade gliomas; MR-tractography; Oligodendroglioma; Subcortical tract.

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Astrocytoma* / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Glioma* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Oligodendroglioma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Oligodendroglioma* / pathology