Abnormal vessel tortuosity as a marker of treatment response of malignant gliomas: Preliminary report

Elizabeth Bullitt, Matthew G. Ewend, Stephen Aylward, Weili Lin, Guido Gerig, Sarang Joshi, Inkyung Jung, Keith Muller, J. Keith Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Despite multiple advances in medical imaging, noninvasive monitoring of therapeutic efficacy for malignant gliomas remains problematic. An underutilized observation is that malignancy induces characteristic abnormalities of vessel shape. These characteristic shape abnormalities affect both capillaries and much larger vessels in the tumor vicinity, involve larger vessels prior to sprout formation, and are generally not present in hypervascular benign tumors. Vessel shape abnormalities associated with malignancy thus may appear independently of increase in vessel density. We hypothesize that an automated, computerized analysis of vessel shape as defined from high-resolution MRA can provide valuable information about tumor activity during the treatment of malignant gliomas. This report describes vessel shape properties in 10 malignant gliomas prior to treatment, in 2 patients in remission during treatment, and in 2 patients with recurrent disease. One subject was scanned multiple times. The method involves an automated, statistical analysis of vessel shape within a region of interest for each tumor, normalized by the values obtained from the vessels within the same region of interest of 34 healthy subjects. Results indicate that untreated tumors display statistically significant vessel tortuosity abnormalities. These abnormalities involve vessels not only within the tumor margins as defined from MR but also vessels in the surrounding tissue. The abnormalities resolve during effective treatment and recur with tumor recurrence. We conclude that vessel shape analysis could provide an important means of assessing tumor activity.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)577-584
    Number of pages8
    JournalTechnology in Cancer Research and Treatment
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Dec 2004


    • Computer analysis
    • GBM
    • MRA
    • Tortuosity
    • Vessels

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Oncology
    • Cancer Research


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