The interpretation of the radiologic response of bevacizumab-treated patients with recurrent high-grade gliomas represents a unique challenge. Delayed-contrast MR imaging was recently introduced for calculating treatment-response-assessment maps in patients with brain tumors, providing clear separation between active tumor and treatment effects. We studied the application of standard and delayed-contrast MR imaging for assessing and predicting the response to bevacizumab.
Twenty-four patients with recurrent high-grade gliomas were scanned before and during bevacizumab treatment by standard and delayed-contrast MR imaging. The mean change in lesion volumes of responders (overall survival, ≥1 year) and nonresponders (overall survival, <1 year) was studied. The lesion volumes at baseline and the changes in lesion volumes 1 month after treatment initiation, calculated from standard and delayed-contrast MRIs, were studied as possible predictors of outcome. In scans acquired at progression, the average change in lesion volume from previous follow-up in standard and delayed-contrast MRIs was compared.
Response and progression patterns were identified from the mean change in lesion volumes, depicted from conventional T1WI, delayed contrast-enhanced MR imaging, and DSC MR imaging. Thresholds for early prediction of response were calculated by using these sequences. For each predictor, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive values, and negative predictive values were calculated, reaching 85.7%, 87.5%, 75%, and 93.3% for conventional T1WI; 100%, 87.5%, 77.8%, and 100% for delayed-contrast MR imaging; and 75%, 78.6%, 50%, and 91.7% for DSC MR imaging. The benefit of delayed-contrast MR imaging in separating responders and nonresponders was further confirmed by using log-rank tests (conventional T1WI, P = .0022; delayed-contrast MR imaging, P < .0001; DSC MR imaging, P = .0232) and receiver operating characteristic analyses. At progression, the increase in lesion volumes in delayed-contrast MR imaging was 37.5% higher than the increase in conventional T1WI (P < .01); these findings suggest that progression may be depicted more effectively in treatment-response-assessment maps.
The benefit of contrast-enhanced MR imaging for assessing and predicting the response to bevacizumab was demonstrated. The increased sensitivity of the treatment-response-assessment maps reflects their potential contribution to the management of bevacizumab-treated patients with recurrent high-grade glioma.