The information contained on this page is for general information purposes only. The information below describes what is on the horizon for molecular imaging in brain tumors and is currently being researched and/or has limited use at this time until approved.
Primary tumors of the brain constitute only 1.4% of all new cancer cases in the United States with an estimate of 79,270 new cases this year. However, they have a high mortality rate and 2/3rd of patients with brain tumors will die from the disease. Despite advances in treatment in recent years, there has been no significant change in the survival rate.
Brain tumors are of two types: benign (not cancer) and malignant (cancer). The benign brain tumors grow slowly and do not spread to other parts of the brain. The most common benign tumor is a meningioma. These tumors can cause symptoms when they start compressing important structures in the brain.
There are two types of malignant brain tumors:
The treatment options for brain tumors include surgery to remove the tumor, chemotherapy, and radiation or combination therapy. Effective treatment depends on an accurate diagnosis, assessment of the location and extent of disease at the time of diagnosis, as well as how the patient responds to treatment.
Role of molecular imaging in Brain tumors?
Molecular imaging can help to diagnose brain tumors, understand the metabolic behavior of the tumors, and differentiate between tumors and non-tumor conditions. It can be used to determine the extent or severity of the disease, select biopsy site to confirm the diagnosis and select the most effective therapy based on the unique biologic characteristics of the patient and the molecular properties of a tumor. Molecular imaging can also be used during and after the treatment to evaluate the extent of surgical resection, determine a patient’s response to specific drugs, accurately assess the effectiveness of a treatment regimen, assess for recurrence after treatment, and for long-term follow-up of the brain tumors.
FIGURE (Adapted From): (A) Flair-MRI (left) and fused PET-MRI (right) in an 18-y-old boy with newly diagnosed Glioblastoma Multiforme showing uptake of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) in the tumor (red arrows). (B) Flair-MRI (left) and fused PET-MRI (right) in an 11-y-old girl with recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme showing uptake of 18F-FDG in the tumor (yellow arrows).1