Diem Kieu Thi Tran, Randy L Jensen

Surgical Neurology International 2013 4(4):129-135

Background: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) has a dismal prognosis despite aggressive therapy. Initial diagnosis and measurement of response to treatment is usually determined by measurement of gadolinium-enhanced tumor volume with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Unfortunately, many GBM treatment modalities can cause changes in tumor gadolinium enhancement patterns that mimic tumor progression. The lack of a definitive imaging modality to distinguish posttreatment radiographic imaging changes (PTRIC), including pseudoprogression and radiation necrosis, from true tumor progression presents a major unmet clinical need in the management of GBM patients. Methods: The authors discuss current modalities available for differentiating PTRIC and tumor progression, describe development of an animal model of PTRIC, and consider potential molecular and cellular pathways involved in the development of PTRIC. Results: An animal model using glioma cells transfected with a luciferase reporter has been developed, and after conventional GBM therapy, this animal model can be evaluated with posttreatment bioluminescence imaging and various MR tumor imaging modalities. Conclusions: Posttreatment radiographic changes that mimic tumor progression can influence clinicians to make treatment decisions that are inappropriate for the patient's actual clinical condition. Several imaging modalities have been used to try to distinguish PTRIC and true progression, including conventional MRI, perfusion MRI, MR spectroscopy, and positron emission tomography (PET); however, none of these modalities has consistently and reliably distinguished PTRIC from tumor growth. An animal model using glioma cells transfected with a luciferase reporter may enable mechanistic studies to determine causes and potential treatments for PTRIC.