Innovative Developments in Brain Tumor Imaging

UCSF team has discovered a new way to image brain tumors and predict recurrence amongst brain cancer patients. Until now, patients with low- grade glioma, a type of brain cancer, undergoing neurosurgery to remove the tumors have faced varied rates of survival—dependent on how rapidly the cancer recurs.  Even with the most acute monitoring by physicians and sophisticated imaging, it is difficult to determine the severity of the recurrent cancer and whether the patient requires more aggressive treatment.

The team, featuring members of several UCSF departments including Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, Pathology, and Neurological Surgery, operates under a $1.5 million per year 10 year grant from the National Cancer Institute known as the Specialized Program for Research Excellence.

The team has recently developed methods to reveal a molecular marker in tissue samples from brain tumors linked to better survival rates for low- grade glioma patients. This discovery could provide doctors a better, more effective way to monitor patients following surgery. Additionally, it can assist doctors to better gauge the likelihood of cancer recurrence, make follow-up treatment decisions, and assess patient response to treatments, although it is not yet optimized for routine clinical use.

The ability to recognize the strength of a tumor after its recurrence is significant, as tumors transferred to higher grade require much more aggressive treatments. The developments from this research will ensure that those patients with higher grade tumors will receive the necessary and more appropriate levels of treatment.

For more details on this research and its finding, please see here.

For more information on neuroradiology at UCSF, please see here.