Predicting the Extent of Resection in Low-Grade Glioma by Using Intratumoral Tractography to Detect Eloquent FasciclesWithin the Tumor

Neurosurgery 88(2) 2021: E190–E202

An early maximal safe surgical resection is the current treatment paradigm for low-grade glioma (LGG). Nevertheless, there are no reliable methods to accurately predict the axonal intratumoral eloquent areas and, consequently, to predict the extent of resection.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the functional predictive value of eloquent white matter tracts within the tumor by using a pre- and postoperative intratumoral diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography protocol in patients with LGG.

METHODS: A preoperative intratumoral DTI-based tractography protocol, using the tumor segmented volume as the only seed region, was used to assess the tracts within the tumor boundaries in 22 consecutive patients with LGG. The reconstructed tracts were correlated with intraoperative electrical stimulation (IES)-based language and motor subcortical mapping findings and the extent of resection was assessed by tumor volumetrics.

RESULTS: Identification of intratumoral language and motor tracts significantly predicted eloquent areas within the tumor during the IES mapping: the positive predictive value for the pyramidal tract, the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus, the arcuate fasciculus and the inferior longitudinal fasciculus positive was 100%, 100%, 33%, and 80%, respectively, whereas negative predictive value was 100% for all of them. The reconstruction of at least one of these tracts within the tumor was significantly associated with a lower extent of resection (67%) as opposed to the extent of resection in the cases with a negative intratumoral tractography (100%) (P< .0001).

CONCLUSION: Intratumoral DTI-based tractography is a simple and reliable method, useful in assessing glioma resectability based on the analysis of intratumoral eloquent areas associated with motor and language tracts within the tumor.

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