Perfusion magnetic resonance imaging changes in normal appearing brain tissue after radiotherapy in glioblastoma patients may confound longitudinal evaluation of treatment response
Background. To assess acute and early delayed radiation-induced changes in normal-appearing brain tissue perfusion as measured with perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the dependence of these changes on the fractionated radiotherapy (FRT) dose level. Patients and methods. Seventeen patients with glioma WHO grade III-IV treated with FRT were included, seven were excluded because of inconsistent FRT protocol or missing examinations. Dynamic susceptibility contrast MRI and contrast-enhanced 3D-T1-weighted (3D-T1w) images were acquired prior to and in average (standard deviation): 3.1 (3.3), 34.4 (9.5) and 103.3 (12.9) days after FRT. Pre-FRT 3D-T1w images were segmented into white- and grey matter. Cerebral blood volume (CBV) and cerebral blood flow (CBF) maps were calculated and co-registered patient-wise to pre-FRT 3D-T1w images. Seven radiation dose regions were created for each tissue type: 0-5 Gy, 5-10 Gy, 10-20 Gy, 20-30 Gy, 30-40 Gy, 40-50 Gy and 50-60 Gy. Mean CBV and CBF were calculated in each dose region and normalised (nCBV and nCBF) to the mean CBV and CBF in 0-5 Gy white- and grey matter reference regions, respectively. Results. Regional and global nCBV and nCBF in white- and grey matter decreased after FRT, followed by a tendency to recover. The response of nCBV and nCBF was dose-dependent in white matter but not in grey matter. Conclusion. Our data suggest that radiation-induced perfusion changes occur in normal-appearing brain tissue after FRT. This can cause an overestimation of relative tumour perfusion using dynamic susceptibility contrast MRI, and can thus confound tumour treatment evaluation.