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Logo of neuroncolAboutAuthor GuidelinesEditorial BoardNeuro-Oncology
Neuro Oncol. 2000 April; 2(2): 87–95.
PMCID: PMC1919517

Quantification of microheterogeneity in glioblastoma multiforme with ex vivo high-resolution magic-angle spinning (HRMAS) proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy.


Microheterogeneity is a routinely observed neuropathologic characteristic in brain tumor pathology. Although microheterogeneity is readily documented by routine histologic techniques, these techniques only measure tumor status at the time of biopsy or surgery and do not indicate likely tumor progression. A biochemical screening technique calibrated against pathologic standards would greatly assist in predicting tumor progression from its biological activity. Here we demonstrate for the first time that proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) with high-resolution magic-angle spinning (HRMAS), a technique introduced in 1997, can preserve tissue histopathologic features while producing well-resolved spectra of cellular metabolites in the identical intact tissue specimens. Observed biochemical alterations and tumor histopathologic characteristics can thus be correlated for the same surgical specimen, obviating the problems caused by tumor microheterogeneity. We analyzed multiple specimens of a single human glioblastoma multiforme surgically removed from a 44-year-old patient. Each specimen was first measured with HRMAS 1H MRS to determine tumor metabolites, then evaluated by quantitative histopathology. The concentrations of lactate and mobile lipids measured with HRMAS linearly reflected the percentage of tumor necrosis. Moreover, metabolic ratios of phosphorylcholine to choline correlated linearly with the percentage of the highly cellular malignant glioma. The quantification of tumor metabolic changes with HRMAS 1H MRS, in conjunction with subsequent histopathology of the same tumor specimen, has the potential to further our knowledge of the biochemistry of tumor heterogeneity during development, and thus ultimately to improve our accuracy in diagnosing, characterizing, and evaluating tumor progression.

Articles from Neuro-Oncology are provided here courtesy of Society for Neuro-Oncology and Oxford University Press