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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2011 Jan;32(1):67-73. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A2269. Epub 2010 Nov 4.

Discrimination between metastasis and glioblastoma multiforme based on morphometric analysis of MR images.

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  • 1Institute for Molecules and Materials, Analytical Chemistry Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.



Solitary MET and GBM are difficult to distinguish by using MR imaging. Differentiation is useful before any metastatic work-up or biopsy. Our hypothesis was that MET and GBM tumors differ in morphology. Shape analysis was proposed as an indicator for discriminating these 2 types of brain pathologies. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of this approach in the discrimination of GBMs and brain METs.


The dataset consisted of 33 brain MR imaging sets of untreated patients, of which 18 patients were diagnosed as having a GBM and 15 patients, as having solitary metastatic brain tumor. The MR imaging was segmented by using the K-means algorithm. The resulting set of classes (also called "clusters") represented the variety of tissues observed. A morphology-based approach allowed discrimination of the 2 types of tumors. This approach was validated by a leave-1-patient-out procedure.


A method was developed for the discrimination of GBMs and solitary METs. Two masses out of 33 were wrongly classified; the overall results were accurate in 93.9% of the observed cases.


A semiautomated method based on a morphologic analysis was developed. Its application was found to be useful in the discrimination of GBM from solitary MET.

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