Despite the longstanding role of radiation in cancer treatment and the presence of advanced, high-resolution imaging techniques, delineation of voxels at-risk for progression remains purely a geometric expansion of anatomic images, missing subclinical disease at risk for recurrence while treating potentially uninvolved tissue and increasing toxicity. This remains despite the modern ability to precisely shape radiation fields. A striking example of this is the treatment of glioblastoma, a highly infiltrative tumor that may benefit from accurate identification of subclinical disease. In this study, we hypothesize that parameters from physiologic and metabolic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at diagnosis could predict the likelihood of voxel progression at radiographic recurrence in glioblastoma by identifying voxel characteristics that indicate subclinical disease. Integrating dosimetry can reveal its effect on voxel outcome, enabling risk-adapted voxel dosing. As a system example, 24 patients with glioblastoma treated with radiotherapy, temozolomide and an anti-angiogenic agent were analyzed. Pretreatment median apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), fractional anisotropy (FA), relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV), vessel leakage (percentage recovery), choline-to-NAA index (CNI) and dose of voxels in the T2 nonenhancing lesion (NEL), T1 post-contrast enhancing lesion (CEL) or normal-appearing volume (NAV) of brain, were calculated for voxels that progressed [NAV→NEL, CEL (N = 8,765)] and compared against those that remained stable [NAV→NAV (N = 98,665)]. Voxels that progressed (NAV→NEL) had significantly different (P < 0.01) ADC (860), FA (0.36) and CNI (0.67) versus stable voxels (804, 0.43 and 0.05, respectively), indicating increased cell turnover, edema and decreased directionality, consistent with subclinical disease. NAV→CEL voxels were more abnormal (1,014, 0.28, 2.67, respectively) and leakier (percentage recovery = 70). A predictive model identified areas of recurrence, demonstrating that elevated CNI potentiates abnormal diffusion, even far (>2 cm) from the tumor and dose escalation >45 Gy has diminishing benefits. Integrating advanced MRI with dosimetry can identify at voxels at risk for progression and may allow voxel-level risk-adapted dose escalation to subclinical disease while sparing normal tissue. When combined with modern planning software, this technique may enable risk-adapted radiotherapy in any disease site with multimodal imaging.
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Vol. 188 • No. 3