The central role of MRI in neuro-oncology is undisputed. The technique is used, both in clinical practice and in clinical trials, to diagnose and monitor disease activity, support treatment decision-making, guide the use of focused treatments and determine response to treatment. Despite recent substantial advances in imaging technology and image analysis techniques, clinical MRI is still primarily used for the qualitative subjective interpretation of macrostructural features, as opposed to quantitative analyses that take into consideration multiple pathophysiological features. However, the field of quantitative imaging and imaging biomarker development is maturing. The European Imaging Biomarkers Alliance (EIBALL) and Quantitative Imaging Biomarkers Alliance (QIBA) are setting standards for biomarker development, validation and implementation, as well as promoting the use of quantitative imaging and imaging biomarkers by demonstrating their clinical value. In parallel, advanced imaging techniques are reaching the clinical arena, providing quantitative, commonly physiological imaging parameters that are driving the discovery, validation and implementation of quantitative imaging and imaging biomarkers in the clinical routine. Additionally, computational analysis techniques are increasingly being used in the research setting to convert medical images into objective high-dimensional data and define radiomic signatures of disease states. Here, I review the definition and current state of MRI biomarkers in neuro-oncology, and discuss the clinical potential of quantitative image analysis techniques.
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