It remains difficult to distinguish tumor recurrence from radiation necrosis after brain tumor therapy. Here we show that these lesions can be distinguished using the amide proton transfer (APT) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signals of endogenous cellular proteins and peptides as an imaging biomarker. When comparing two models of orthotopic glioma (SF188/V+ glioma and 9L gliosarcoma) with a model of radiation necrosis in rats, we could clearly differentiate viable glioma (hyperintense) from radiation necrosis (hypointense to isointense) by APT MRI. When we irradiated rats with U87MG gliomas, the APT signals in the irradiated tumors had decreased substantially by 3 d and 6 d after radiation. The amide protons that can be detected by APT provide a unique and noninvasive MRI biomarker for distinguishing viable malignancy from radiation necrosis and predicting tumor response to therapy.
Zhou J, Tryggestad E, Wen Z, Lal B, Zhou T, Grossman R, Wang S, Yan K, Fu DX, Ford E, Tyler B, Blakeley J, Laterra J & van Zijl PC.