How does brain MRI lesion volume change on serial scans in patients with multiple sclerosis?

M. Filippi, M. P. Sormani, M. Rovaris, G. Comi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although lesion load changes on conventional T2-weighted brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans from patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are used to monitor the effect of treatment, there is no clear definition of how lesion load changes over years according to the lesion load present at a baseline evaluation. In the present study, we evaluated the relationship between lesion load changes over time and lesion load at a baseline evaluation in a group of untreated patients with MS. We scanned nineteen patients on two separate occasions with a mean interval 16.4 months between the two examinations. In each scanning session, a scan with forty contiguous 3-mm-thick axial slices was acquired. We assessed MRI lesion loads using a semi-automated local thresholding technique. Both a linear (p <0.0001) and a quadratic component (p = 0.0008) of the baseline volume were significant in describing the follow-up volume. The equation to model this finding was as follows: V(f) = β0 V(b) + β1 (V(b))2, where V(f) is the lesion volume at follow-up, V(b) is the lesion volume at baseline, β0 = 0.834 (SE = 0.098), and β1 = 0.014 (SE = 0.003) (mL)-1. Our data indicate that lesion volume changes detectable on serial brain MRI studies from patients with MS are dependent on the extent of lesion burden present on the baseline MRI scans. This finding has to be considered when planning phase III trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1181-1183
Number of pages3
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1998


  • Brain
  • Clinical trials
  • Lesion volume measurements
  • Multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Structural Biology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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