Low grade gliomas in cerebral cortex often cause symptoms related to higher cerebral functions such as attention, memory and executive function before treatment is initiated. Interestingly, focal tumors residing in one cortical region can lead to a diverse range of symptoms, indicating that the impact of a tumor is extended to multiple brain regions. We hypothesize that the presence of focal glioma in the cerebral cortex leads to alterations of distant subcortical areas and essential white matter tracts. In this study, we analyzed diffusion tensor imaging scans in glioma patients to study the effect of glioma on subcortical gray matter nuclei and long-distance connectivity. We found that the caudate nucleus, putamen and thalamus were affected by cortical glioma, displaying both volumetric and diffusion alterations. The cerebellar cortex contralateral to the tumor side also showed significant volume decrease. Additionally, tractography of the cortico-striatal and cortico-thalamic projections shows similar diffusion alterations. Tumor associated epilepsy might be an important contributing factor to the found alterations. Our findings indeed confirm concurrent structural and connectivity abrasions of brain areas distant from brain tumor, and provide insights into the pathogenesis of diverse neurological symptoms in glioma patients.

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Keywords Connectivity, Diffusion tensor imaging, Glioma, MRI, Tumor associated epilepsy
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2018.01004, hdl.handle.net/1765/113034
Journal Frontiers in Neurology
Bouwen, B.L.J. (Bibi L.J.), Pieterman, K.J, Smits, M, Dirven, C.M.F, Gao, Z, & Vincent, A. (2018). The impacts of tumor and tumor associated epilepsy on subcortical brain structures and long distance connectivity in patients with low grade glioma. Frontiers in Neurology, 9(NOV). doi:10.3389/fneur.2018.01004