The evolving role of neurological imaging in neuro-oncology

Fontana, E.J., Benzinger, T., Cobbs, C., Henson, J., Fouke, S.J., 2014. The evolving role of neurological imaging in neuro-oncology. J. Neurooncol. 119, 491–502. doi:10.1007/s11060-014-1505-3

ABSTRACT

Neuroimaging has played a critical role in the management of patients with neurological disease, since the first ventriculogram was performed in 1918 by Walter Dandy (Mezger et al. Langenbecks Arch Surg 398(4):501-514, 2013). Over the last century, technology has evolved significantly, and within the last decade, the role of imaging in the management of patients with neuro-oncologic disease has shifted from a tool for gross identification of intracranial pathology, to an integral part of real-time neurological surgery. Current neurological imaging provides detailed information about anatomical structure, neurological function, and metabolic and metabolism-important characteristics that help clinicians and surgeons non-invasively manage patients with brain tumors. It is valuable to review the evolution of neurological imaging over the past several decades, focusing on its role in the management of patients with intracranial tumors. Novel neuro-imaging tools and developing technology with the potential to further transform clinical practice will be discussed, as will the key role neurological imaging plays in neurosurgical planning and intraoperative navigation. With increasingly complex imaging modalities creating growing amounts of raw data, validation of techniques, data analysis, and integrating various pieces of imaging data into individual patient management plans, remain significant challenges for clinicians. We thus suggest mechanisms that might ultimately allow for evidence based integration of imaging in the management of patients with neuro-oncologic disease.