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Non-Invasive MRI/PET for Imaging Progression and Pseudoprogression in Glioma Models

Project Description

Gliomas are the most aggressive brain tumors, with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) being the deadliest among them (the average of 6 months survival after diagnosis). These fast growing tumors usually cannot be cured. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the standard-of-care method to diagnose these tumors. Prior to treatment MRI provides superior detection, localization, and tumor visualization. Immediately after treatment - consisting of surgical resection, radiation treatment (RT) and chemotherapy - MRI cannot be used to assess the residual glioma because the treatment alone induce "abnormal" scans due to inflammation and surgical intervention. This radiological occurrence is called “pseudo-progression” (PsP). PsP causes MRI abnormaities (mimicking tumor progression) up to 12 weeks after completion of treatment. To achieve the best possible prognosis for glioma patients there is urgent need for noninvasive radiological discrimination of PsP vs true progression within these 12 weeks. We have shown, with both in vitro and animal studies, that glioma tumor cells have high amino acid up-take, while inflammatory cells have high iron up-take. The goal of this study is to evaluate noninvasive imaging in mouse glioma models utilizing (i) radioactive amino acids by positron emission tomography (PET) to detect early onset of tumor progression; and (ii) iron-based contrast by MRI to selectively image sites of inflammation due to treatment. This PET/MRI approach should reveal the molecular differences of progression and PsP which can be readily translated to humans. Swift detection of recurrence will allow for time critical decisions regarding additional therapeutic interventions in cases of progression potentially improving overall survival.

Area of Study

Hematology and Oncology; Neuroscience, Brain and Behavior - Adult




Animal Models; Imaging

Disease or Symptom

Cancer; Neurological Illness



Mentor Location

12631 East 17th Ave AO1, L15-2015 Aurora, CO 80045

Mentor Contact Number

303 724 1086

Mentor Email


Mentor Name

Serkova, Natalie

Funding Department/Program

Anesthesiology; Cancer Center



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Created at 8/20/2015 10:14 AM by Miller, Michael
Last modified at 8/14/2019 1:06 PM by Zoghby, Caitlin