Primary glioma: diagnosis with magnetic resonance imaging

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      Seventeen patients with surgically documented primary glial-origin brain tumors were evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging and high-resolution computed tomography. The exclusion of CT ringen-hancing lesions directed the focus of this study toward lower grade tumors that were more difficult to diagnose. The computed tomography abnormalities were often subtle and included areas of low attenuation, mass effect, and focal enhancement. Spin-echo sequences with both heavy T1 and T2 weighting were utilized. Prolonged T1 and T2 values were observed in all tumors. The T2-weighted spin-echo 10001120 sequence was the most sensitive in tumor detection and was positive in all cases. Magnetic resonance imaging was superior to computed tomography in tumor detection, tumor localization, assessment of tumor extent, and determination of associated changes, ie, brain stem encroachment. All the magnetic resonance sequences used showed an increase in severity of imaging changes with increasing tumor grade. The T2-weighted sequence showed progressive margin irregularity, whereas the T1-weighted (inversion recovery) sequence showed increasing severity of internal tissue changes. The superior resolution of these changes by magnetic resonance imaging may have implications for better assessment of tumor grade in the future than is currently possible with computed tomography.


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