Atypical and anaplastic meningiomas account for 20% of all meningiomas. An irregular tumor shape on preoperative MRI has been associated with WHO grade II–III histology. However, this subjective allocation does not allow quantification or comparison. An objective parameter of irregularity could substantially influence resection strategy toward a more aggressive approach. Therefore, the aim of this study was to objectively quantify the level of irregularity on preoperative MRI and predict histology based on WHO grade using this novel approach.
A retrospective study on meningiomas resected between January 2010 and December 2018 was conducted at two neurosurgical centers. This novel approach relies on the theory that a regularly shaped tumor has a smaller surface area than an irregularly shaped tumor with the same volume. A factor was generated using the surface area of a corresponding sphere as a reference, because for a given volume a sphere represents the shape with the smallest surface area possible. Consequently, the surface factor (SF) was calculated by dividing the surface area of a sphere with the same volume as the tumor with the surface area of the tumor. The resulting value of the SF ranges from > 0 to 1. Finally, the SF of each meningioma was then correlated with the corresponding histopathological grading.
A total of 126 patients were included in this study; 60.3% had a WHO grade I, 34.9% a WHO grade II, and 4.8% a WHO grade III meningioma. Calculation of the SF demonstrated a significant difference in SFs between WHO grade I (SF 0.851) and WHO grade II–III meningiomas (SF 0.788) (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis identified SF as an independent prognostic factor for WHO grade (OR 0.000009, 95% CI 0.000–0.159; p = 0.020).
The SF is a proposed mathematical model for a quantitative and objective measurement of meningioma shape, instead of the present subjective assessment. This study revealed significant differences between the SFs of WHO grade I and WHO grade II–III meningiomas and demonstrated that SF is an independent prognostic factor for WHO grade.