Glioblastoma differentials include intracranial tumors, like malignant lymphomas and metastatic brain tumors with indiscernible radiological characteristics. The purpose of this study was to identify a distinct radiological feature for the preoperative differentiation of glioblastoma from its differentials, which include malignant lymphomas and metastatic brain tumors.
Preoperative MR images, including diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) studies (b = 1000 and 4000 sec/mm2), obtained in patients with newly diagnosed malignant tumor, were analyzed retrospectively after receiving approval from the institutional review board. Sixty-four patients with histologically confirmed glioblastoma, 32 patients with malignant lymphoma, and 46 patients with brain metastases were included. The presence of a nonenhancing peritumoral DWI high lesion (NePDHL, i.e., hyperintense lesion in a nonenhancing peritumoral area on DWI) was confirmed in both DWI sequences. Gray matter lesions were excluded. Lesions were termed “definite” if present within 3 cm of the hyperintense tumor border with a signal intensity ratio ≥ 30% when compared with the contralateral normal white matter in both sequences. Discriminant analysis between the histological diagnosis and the presence of Definite-NePDHL was performed, as well as Kaplan-Meier survival analysis incorporating the existence of Definite-NePDHL.
In 25% of glioblastoma patients, Definite-NePDHL was present, while it was conspicuously absent in patients with malignant lymphoma and metastatic brain tumors. The specificity and positive predictive value were 100%. In the glioblastoma subset, a higher preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale score (p = 0.0028), high recursive partitioning analysis class (p = 0.0006), and total surgical removal (p = 0.0012) were associated with better median overall survival. Patients with Definite-NePDHL had significantly early local (p = 0.0467) and distant/dissemination recurrence (p < 0.0001) and poor prognosis (p = 0.0007).
The presence of Definite-NePDHL is very specific for glioblastoma and indicates poor prognosis. Definite-NePDHL is a significant indicator of early local and distant/dissemination recurrence in patients with glioblastoma. Studying peritumoral DWI and high–b-value DWI is useful for tumor differentiation.