Contribution of magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging and L-[1-11C]tyrosine positron emission tomography to localization of cerebral gliomas for biopsy

Neurosurgery. 1994 Jun;34(6):994-1002; discussion 1002. doi: 10.1227/00006123-199406000-00007.


Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (1H-MRSI) and positron emission tomography with the tracer L-[1-11C]tyrosine (11C-TYR) were used to localize gliomas for biopsy or resection. This is especially helpful in cases of low-grade gliomas, if these lesions are not visualized by contrast-enhanced computed tomographic and magnetic resonance imaging scans. The clues to improved localization are provided by changes in tissue metabolite contents, such as elevation of phosphocholine, indicating cellular proliferation; decrease of N-acetylaspartate, denoting loss of neurons (as these are replaced by tumor cells); and elevation of lactate, pointing to the prevalence of glycolysis, as observed in many tumors. These data on tissue metabolite content have been obtained in vivo in the patient by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy; metabolite maps derived from these data then visualize the distribution of the various metabolites over the section of the brain under investigation. Alternatively, localization of a tumor may be achieved by means of positron emission tomography depicting the pattern of uptake of the amino acid tracer 11C-TYR, as it tends to be incorporated in the process of cellular proliferation and protein biosynthesis. Five cases are presented as examples.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Astrocytoma / pathology
  • Astrocytoma / surgery
  • Biopsy
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Craniotomy
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / pathology
  • Frontal Lobe / surgery
  • Glioblastoma / pathology
  • Glioblastoma / surgery
  • Glioma / pathology*
  • Glioma / surgery
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology
  • Temporal Lobe / surgery
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*
  • Tyrosine


  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Tyrosine