Purpose: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography are relatively new modalities of great potential value in the evaluation, treatment, and subsequent follow-up care of patients with malignant glioma. We report our experience with the incorporation of functional imaging data into radiation therapy three-dimensional (3-D) treatment planning.
Methods and materials: Over a 24-month period, a total of 37 positron emission tomography and 29 functional MRI studies have been conducted on eight consecutive patients prior to, during, and following the completion of radiation therapy. Functional imaging was conducted prior to radiation therapy treatment planning and at approximate 3-month follow-up time intervals.
Results: In two patients, functional imaging provided additional information over conventional imaging modalities and resulted in subsequent modification of conventional radiation therapy treatment planning.
Conclusion: Although it is premature to make definitive statements regarding the use of these new imaging parameters in the prognostic setting, functional imaging may likely prove to be a useful adjunct in the initial evaluation, radiation treatment planning, and follow-up care of patients with malignant glioma.