The object of this study was to determine the potential of magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) to preoperatively assess the stiffness of meningiomas.
Thirteen patients with meningiomas underwent 3D brain MRE examination to measure stiffness in the tumor as well as in surrounding brain tissue. Blinded to the MRE results, neurosurgeons made a qualitative assessment of tumor stiffness at the time of resection. The ability of MRE to predict the surgical assessment of stiffness was tested using a Spearman rank correlation.
One case was excluded due to a small tumor size. In the remaining 12 cases, both tumor stiffness alone (p = 0.023) and the ratio of tumor stiffness to surrounding brain tissue stiffness (p = 0.0032) significantly correlated with the surgeons' qualitative assessment of tumor stiffness. Results of the MRE examination provided a stronger correlation with the surgical assessment of stiffness compared with traditional T1- and T2-weighted imaging (p = 0.089), particularly when considering meningiomas of intermediate stiffness.
In this cohort, preoperative MRE predicted tumor consistency at the time of surgery. Tumor stiffness as measured using MRE outperformed conventional MRI because tumor appearance on T1- and T2-weighted images could only accurately predict the softest and hardest meningiomas.