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In Scientific reports ; h5-index 158.0

Tumor types are classically distinguished based on biopsies of the tumor itself, as well as a radiological interpretation using diverse MRI modalities. In the current study, the overarching goal is to demonstrate that primary (glioblastomas) and secondary (brain metastases) malignancies can be differentiated based on the microstructure of the peritumoral region. This is achieved by exploiting the extracellular water differences between vasogenic edema and infiltrative tissue and training a convolutional neural network (CNN) on the Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI)-derived free water volume fraction. We obtained 85% accuracy in discriminating extracellular water differences between local patches in the peritumoral area of 66 glioblastomas and 40 metastatic patients in a cross-validation setting. On an independent test cohort consisting of 20 glioblastomas and 10 metastases, we got 93% accuracy in discriminating metastases from glioblastomas using majority voting on patches. This level of accuracy surpasses CNNs trained on other conventional DTI-based measures such as fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD), that have been used in other studies. Additionally, the CNN captures the peritumoral heterogeneity better than conventional texture features, including Gabor and radiomic features. Our results demonstrate that the extracellular water content of the peritumoral tissue, as captured by the free water volume fraction, is best able to characterize the differences between infiltrative and vasogenic peritumoral regions, paving the way for its use in classifying and benchmarking peritumoral tissue with varying degrees of infiltration.

Samani Zahra Riahi, Parker Drew, Wolf Ronald, Hodges Wes, Brem Steven, Verma Ragini