Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Medical Biophysics

Supervisor

Ravi Menon

2nd Supervisor

Glenn Bauman

Joint Supervisor

Abstract

Radiation therapy (RT) is a common treatment for brain neoplasms and is used alone or in combination with other therapies. The use of RT has been found to be successful in controlling tumors and extending the overall survival of patients; however, there are many unanswered questions regarding radiotherapy effects in the normal brain surrounding or infiltrated by tumor. Changes to the vascular and parenchyma have been documented, and more recently inflammatory mechanisms have been postulated to play a role in radiation injury. Traditional imaging techniques used within the clinic (CT and MRI) are often lacking in their ability to differentiate between recurrent tumor, transient treatment effects, or radiation necrosis. The primary goal of this thesis is to demonstrate an MRI acquisition method that has been shown to be sensitive to deoxygenated blood and iron content as a potential biomarker of radiation effect on the normal brain. Specifically, post-processing techniques are used to determine the applicability of qualitative images such as Susceptibility-Weighted Imaging (SWI) and quantitative methods such as Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping (QSM) and apparent traverse relaxation (R2*) using the same sequence. These methods are potential surrogate markers for vascular changes and neuroinflammatory components that could predict sub-acute and long-term radiation effects. Within this thesis, R2* is shown to be a promising marker for the prediction of radiation necrosis, whereas SWI and QSM are shown to be excellent modalities for detecting longterm effects such as microbleeds. Additionally, R2 * is shown to be a potentially useful technique in identifying post-imaging treatment changes (pseudoprogression) following chemoradiotherapy for malignant glioma. Finally, the use of this non-contrast method shows promise for integration within a clinical setting and the potential for expansion to multicenter clinical trials.


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