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Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 2012 Jan;80(1):17-23. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1281851. Epub 2011 Dec 12.

[Use of amino acid PET in the Diagnostic and Treatment Management of cerebral gliomas].

[Article in German]

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Institut für Neurowissenschaften und Medizin, Kognitive Neurologie (INM-3), Forschungszentrum Jülich.


Structural as well as functional imaging methods are of special importance in neurooncology. Improvements of radionuclide and magnetic resonance-based imaging modalities over the past decade have enabled clinicians to non-invasively assess the dynamics of disease-specific processes at the molecular level in patients with malignant gliomas. To date, a range of complementary imaging parameters have been established in the diagnostic work-up of patients with brain tumours. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides morphological information as well as functional information such as vascular permeability, cell density, tumour perfusion, and metabolic information by using magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The use of radiolabelled amino acids for positron emission tomography (PET) allows a better delineation of tumour margins and improves targeting of biopsy and radiotherapy, and planning surgery. In addition, amino acid imaging appears useful in distinguishing tumour recurrence from non-specific post-therapeutic scar tissue, in predicting prognosis in low-grade gliomas, and in monitoring metabolic response during treatment. Taken together, MRI and PET provide complementary information about tumour biology and activity, thereby resulting in an improved understanding of the kinetics of tumour growth and therefore allow new insights into the pathophysiology of malignant brain tumours. However, multimodal imaging studies comparing the value of amino acid PET and functional methods of MRI (e. g., perfusion and diffusion weighted imaging) are needed. From these studies, surrogate MRI and PET imaging techniques need to be derived to gain complementary structural and functional information of brain tumours that can be placed into common clinical practice which will optimise the clinical management of patients with malignant gliomas.

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