Probing the glioma microvasculature: a case series of the comparison between perfusion MRI and intraoperative high-frame-rate ultrafast Doppler ultrasound

Ahmad Alafandi, Sadaf Soloukey Tbalvandany, Fatemeh Arzanforoosh, Sebastian R. van Der Voort, Fatih Incekara, Luuk Verhoef, Esther A.H. Warnert, Pieter Kruizinga, Marion Smits*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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We aimed to describe the microvascular features of three types of adult-type diffuse glioma by comparing dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with intraoperative high-frame-rate ultrafast Doppler ultrasound. 


Case series of seven patients with primary brain tumours underwent both DSC perfusion MRI and intra-operative high-frame-rate ultrafast Doppler ultrasound. From the ultrasound images, three-dimensional vessel segmentation was obtained of the tumour vascular bed. Relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) maps were generated with leakage correction and normalised to the contralateral normal-appearing white matter. From tumour histograms, median, mean, and maximum rCBV ratios were extracted. 


Low-grade gliomas (LGGs) showed lower perfusion than high-grade gliomas (HGGs), as expected. Within the LGG subgroup, oligodendroglioma showed higher perfusion than astrocytoma. In HGG, the median rCBV ratio for glioblastoma was 3.1 while astrocytoma grade 4 showed low perfusion with a median rCBV of 1.2. On the high-frame-rate ultrafast Doppler ultrasound images, all tumours showed a range of rich and organised vascular networks with visually apparent abnormal vessels, even in LGG. 


This unique case series revealed in vivo insights about the microvascular architecture in both LGGs and HGGs. Ultrafast Doppler ultrasound revealed rich vascularisation, also in tumours with low perfusion at DSC MRI. These findings warrant further investigations using advanced MRI postprocessing, in particular for characterising adult-type diffuse glioma. 

Relevance statement: 

Our findings challenge the current assumption behind the estimation of relative cerebral blood volume that the distribution of blood vessels in a voxel is random. Key points: • Ultrafast Doppler ultrasound revealed rich vascularity irrespective of perfusion dynamic susceptibility contrast MRI state. • Rich and organised vascularisation was also observed even in low-grade glioma. • These findings challenge the assumptions for cerebral blood volume estimation with MRI. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalEuropean radiology experimental
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jan 2024

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© 2024, The Author(s).


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