Evaluation of low-grade glioma structural changes after chemotherapy using DTI-based histogram analysis and functional diffusion maps

Antonella Castellano, Marina Donativi, Roberta Rudà, Giorgio de Nunzio, Marco Riva, Antonella Iadanza, Luca Bertero, Matteo Rucco, Lorenzo Bello, Riccardo Soffietti, Andrea Falini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To explore the role of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)-based histogram analysis and functional diffusion maps (fDMs) in evaluating structural changes of low-grade gliomas (LGGs) receiving temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy. Methods: Twenty-one LGG patients underwent 3T-MR examinations before and after three and six cycles of dose-dense TMZ, including 3D-fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) sequences and DTI (b = 1000 s/mm2, 32 directions). Mean diffusivity (MD), fractional anisotropy (FA), and tensor-decomposition DTI maps (p and q) were obtained. Histogram and fDM analyses were performed on co-registered baseline and post-chemotherapy maps. DTI changes were compared with modifications of tumour area and volume [according to Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology (RANO) criteria], and seizure response. Results: After three cycles of TMZ, 20/21 patients were stable according to RANO criteria, but DTI changes were observed in all patients (Wilcoxon test, P ≤ 0.03). After six cycles, DTI changes were more pronounced (P ≤ 0.005). Seventy-five percent of patients had early seizure response with significant improvement of DTI values, maintaining stability on FLAIR. Early changes of the 25th percentiles of p and MD predicted final volume change (R2 = 0.614 and 0.561, P <0.0005, respectively). TMZ-related changes were located mainly at tumour borders on p and MD fDMs. Conclusions: DTI-based histogram and fDM analyses are useful techniques to evaluate the early effects of TMZ chemotherapy in LGG patients. Key Points: • DTI helps to assess the efficacy of chemotherapy in low-grade gliomas.• Histogram analysis of DTI metrics quantifies structural changes in tumour tissue.• Functional diffusion maps (fDMs) spatially localize the changes of DTI metrics.• Changes in DTI histograms and fDMs precede changes in conventional MRI.• Early changes in DTI histograms and fDMs correlate with seizure response.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Radiology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Aug 30 2015


  • Chemotherapy
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Glioma
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Response Evaluation Criteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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