Patient-Specific Metrics of Invasiveness Reveal Significant Prognostic Benefit of Resection in a Predictable Subset of Gliomas

Baldock, Anne L.; Ahn, Sunyoung; Rockne, Russell; Johnston, Sandra; Neal, Maxwell; Corwin, David; Clark-Swanson, Kamala; Sterin, Greg; Trister, Andrew D.; Malone, Hani; Ebiana, Victoria; Sonabend Worthalter, Adam Mendel; Mrugala, Maciej; Rockhill, Jason K.; Silbergeld, Daniel L.; Lai, Albert; Cloughesy, Timothy; McKhann II, Guy M.; Bruce, Jeffrey N.; Rostomily, Robert C.; Canoll, Peter D.; Swanson, Kristin R.

Malignant gliomas are incurable, primary brain neoplasms noted for their potential to extensively invade brain parenchyma. Current methods of clinical imaging do not elucidate the full extent of brain invasion, making it difficult to predict which, if any, patients are likely to benefit from gross total resection. Our goal was to apply a mathematical modeling approach to estimate the overall tumor invasiveness on a patient-by-patient basis and determine whether gross total resection would improve survival in patients with relatively less invasive gliomas.

In 243 patients presenting with contrast-enhancing gliomas, estimates of the relative invasiveness of each patient's tumor, in terms of the ratio of net proliferation rate of the glioma cells to their net dispersal rate, were derived by applying a patient-specific mathematical model to routine pretreatment MR imaging. The effect of varying degrees of extent of resection on overall survival was assessed for cohorts of patients grouped by tumor invasiveness.

We demonstrate that patients with more diffuse tumors showed no survival benefit (P = 0.532) from gross total resection over subtotal/biopsy, while those with nodular (less diffuse) tumors showed a significant benefit (P = 0.00142) with a striking median survival benefit of over eight months compared to sub-totally resected tumors in the same cohort (an 80% improvement in survival time for GTR only seen for nodular tumors).

These results suggest that our patient-specific, model-based estimates of tumor invasiveness have clinical utility in surgical decision making. Quantification of relative invasiveness assessed from routinely obtained pre-operative imaging provides a practical predictor of the benefit of gross total resection.


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Academic Units
Pathology and Cell Biology
Neurological Surgery
Public Library of Science
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June 2, 2016