A CT method to measure hemodynamics in brain tumors: validation and application of cerebral blood flow maps.
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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: CT is an imaging technique that is routinely used for evaluating brain tumors. Nonetheless, imaging often cannot show the distinction between radiation necrosis and neoplastic growth among patients with recurrent symptoms after radiation therapy. In such cases, a diagnostic tool that provides perfusion measurements with high anatomic detail would show the separation between necrotic areas, which are characterized by low perfusion, from neoplastic areas, which are characterized by elevated CBF. We attempted to validate a dynamic contrast-enhanced CT method for the measurement of regional CBF in brain tumors, and to apply this method by creating CBF maps. METHODS: We studied nine New Zealand White rabbits with implanted brain tumors. We obtained dynamic CT measurements of CBF, cerebral blood volume (CBV), and permeability surface (PS) from the tumor, peritumor, and contralateral normal tissue regions. In all nine rabbits (two studies per rabbit), we compared CT-derived CBF values with those simultaneously obtained by the standard of reference ex vivo microsphere technique. Using CT, we examined three rabbits to assess the variability of repeated CBF and CBV measurements; we examined the other six to evaluate regional CBF reactivity to arterial carbon dioxide tensions. Finally, CT CBF maps were obtained from a rabbit with a brain tumor during normocapnia and hypocapnia. RESULTS: We found a significant linear correlation (r = 0.847) between the regional CT-and microsphere-derived CBF values, with a slope not significantly different from unity (0.99+/-0.03, P>.01). The mean difference between regional CBF measurements obtained using both methods did not significantly deviate from zero (P>.10). During normocapnia, tumor had significantly higher CBF, CBV, and PS values (P<.05) than did peritumor and normal tissues. The variability in CT-derived CBF and CBV measurements in the repeated studies was 13% and 7%, respectively. CT revealed no significantly different CBF CO2 reactivity from that determined by the microsphere method (P>.10). The CBF map of tumor regions during normocapnia showed much higher flow than normal regions manifested, and this difference was reduced on the hypocapnia CBF map. CONCLUSION: The dynamic CT method presented herein provides absolute CBF measurements in brain tumors that are accurate and precise. Preliminary CBF maps derived with this method demonstrate their potential for depicting areas of different blood flow within tumors and surrounding tissue, indicating its possible use in the clinical setting.
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