Glutamate weighted imaging contrast in gliomas with 7 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging

Andrew Neal, Bradford A. Moffat, Joel M. Stein, Ravi Prakash Reddy Nanga, Patricia Desmond, Russell T. Shinohara, Hari Hariharan, Rebecca Glarin, Katharine Drummond, Andrew Morokoff, Patrick Kwan, Ravinder Reddy, Terence J. O'Brien, Kathryn A. Davis

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Introduction: Diffuse gliomas are incurable malignancies, which undergo inevitable progression and are associated with seizure in 50–90% of cases. Glutamate has the potential to be an important glioma biomarker of survival and local epileptogenicity if it can be accurately quantified noninvasively. Methods: We applied the glutamate-weighted imaging method GluCEST (glutamate chemical exchange saturation transfer) and single voxel MRS (magnetic resonance spectroscopy) at 7 Telsa (7 T) to patients with gliomas. GluCEST contrast and MRS metabolite concentrations were quantified within the tumour region and peritumoural rim. Clinical variables of tumour aggressiveness (prior adjuvant therapy and previous radiological progression) and epilepsy (any prior seizures, seizure in last month and drug refractory epilepsy) were correlated with respective glutamate concentrations. Images were separated into post-hoc determined patterns and clinical variables were compared across patterns. Results: Ten adult patients with a histo-molecular (n = 9) or radiological (n = 1) diagnosis of grade II-III diffuse glioma were recruited, 40.3 +/− 12.3 years. Increased tumour GluCEST contrast was associated with prior adjuvant therapy (p =.001), and increased peritumoural GluCEST contrast was associated with both recent seizures (p =.038) and drug refractory epilepsy (p =.029). We distinguished two unique GluCEST contrast patterns with distinct clinical and radiological features. MRS glutamate correlated with GluCEST contrast within the peritumoural voxel (R = 0.89, p =.003) and a positive trend existed in the tumour voxel (R = 0.65, p =.113). Conclusion: This study supports the role of glutamate in diffuse glioma biology. It further implicates elevated peritumoural glutamate in epileptogenesis and altered tumour glutamate homeostasis in glioma aggressiveness. Given the ability to non-invasively visualise and quantify glutamate, our findings raise the prospect of 7 T GluCEST selecting patients for individualised therapies directed at the glutamate pathway. Larger studies with prospective follow-up are required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101694
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • 7 T MRI
  • Epilepsy
  • Glioma
  • GluCEST
  • Glutamate
  • Seizure

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