Use of in vivo two-dimensional MR spectroscopy to compare the biochemistry of the human brain to that of glioblastoma

Ramadan S, Andronesi OC, Stanwell P, Lin AP, Sorensen AG, Mountford CE

Radiology 2011 May;259(2):540-9

PMID: 21357517


PURPOSE: To develop an in vivo two-dimensional localized correlation spectroscopy technique with which to monitor the biochemistry of the human brain and the pathologic characteristics of diseases in a clinically applicable time, including ascertainment of appropriate postprocessing parameters with which to allow diagnostic and prognostic molecules to be measured, and to investigate how much of the chemical information, known to be available from malignant cultured cells, could be recorded in vivo from human brain.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was approved by the institutional review board and was compliant with HIPAA. With use of a 3.0-T clinical magnetic resonance (MR) unit and a 32-channel head coil, localized correlation spectroscopy was performed in six healthy control subjects and six patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) with an acquisition time of 11 minutes. Two-dimensional spectra were processed and analyzed and peak volume ratios were tabulated. The data used were proved to be normally distributed by passing the Shapiro-Wilk normality test. The first row of the spectra was extracted to examine diagnostic features. The pathologic characteristics and grade of each GBM were determined after biopsy or surgery. Statistically significant differences were assessed by using a t test.

RESULTS: The localized correlation spectroscopy method assigned biochemical species from the healthy human brain. The correlation spectra of GBM were of sufficiently high quality that many of the cross peaks, recorded previously from malignant cell models in vitro, were observed, demonstrating a statistically significant difference (P < .05) between the cross peak volumes measured for healthy subjects and those with GBM (which include lipid, alanine, N-acetylaspartate, γ-aminobutyric acid, glutamine and glutamate, glutathione, aspartate, lysine, threonine, total choline, glycerophosphorylcholine, myo-inositol, imidazole, uridine diphosphate glucose, isocitrate, lactate, and fucose). The first row of the spectra was found to contain diagnostic features.

CONCLUSION: Localized correlation spectroscopy of the human brain at 3.0 T with use of a 32-channel head coil was performed in 11 minutes and provided information about neurotransmitters, metabolites, lipids, and macromolecules. The method was able to help differentiate healthy brain from the biochemical signature of GBM in vivo. This method may, in the future, reduce the need for biopsy and is now applicable for the study of selected neurologic diseases.