Understanding the topographic-anatomical patterns of brain tumors has the potential to improve our pathophysiological understanding and may allow for anatomical tailoring of surgery and radiotherapy. This study analyzed topographic-anatomical patterns underlying neuroepithelial tumors, primary CNS lymphoma and metastases.
Any histologically confirmed supra- or infratentorial parenchymal neoplasia of one institution over a 4-year period was included. Using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging data, a detailed analysis of the topographic-anatomical tumor features was performed. Differences between neuroepithelial tumors, primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) and metastases were assessed using pairwise comparisons adjusted for multiple testing, upon significance of the omnibus test.
Based on image analysis of 648 patients-419 (65%) neuroepithelial tumors, 28 (5%) PCNSL and 201 (31%) metastases-entity-specific topographic-anatomical patterns were identified. Neuroepithelial tumors showed a radial ventriculo-cortical orientation, inconsistent with the current belief of a growth along white matter tracts, whereas the pattern in PCNSL corresponded to a growth along such. Metastases preferentially affected the cortex and subcortical white matter of large arteries' terminal supply areas. This study provides a comprehensive anatomical description of the topography of NT, PCNSL and metastases intended to serve as a topographic reference for clinicians and neuroscientists.
The identified distinct anatomical patterns provide evidence for a specific interaction between tumor and anatomical structures, following a pathoclitic concept. Understanding differences in their anatomical behavior has the potential to improve our pathophysiological understanding and to tailor therapy of brain tumors.