Application of Ultrahigh Field Magnetic Resonance Imaging in the Treatment of Brain Tumors: A Meta-Analysis

Thomas F. Barrett, Christopher A. Sarkiss, Hadrien A. Dyvorne, James Lee, Priti Balchandani, Raj K. Shrivastava

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the imaging modality of choice for the clinical management of brain tumors, and the majority of scanners operate with static magnetic field strengths of 1.5 or 3.0 Tesla (T). During the past decade, ultrahigh field (UHF) MRI has been investigated for its clinical applicability. This meta-analysis evaluates studies pertaining to the application of UHF MRI to patients with brain tumors. Methods The authors performed a systematic review of the literature. Articles relating to application of UHF MRI to brain anatomy and brain tumors with living subjects were included. Studies were grouped into 1 of 3 categories based on area of focus: "Anatomical Structures Involved with Brain Tumors," "Tumor characterization," and "Treatment Monitoring." Comparison studies with extractable outcomes measure data were analyzed for performance of UHF MRI versus clinical field strengths (1.5 T and 3 T). Results Twenty-four studies (361 subjects) met inclusion criteria. The field of study was heterogeneous and rigorous statistical analysis was not possible. Overall, 279 patients with brain tumors scanned at UHF MRI have been reported. Of these, glioma and glioblastoma multiforme are the most commonly studied lesions (38.9% and 24.4%, respectively). In comparison studies between UHF MRI and clinical field strengths, 24 of 51 patients had outcome measures that were better with UHF MRI, 17 of 24 were equivalent at both field strengths, and 9 were worse at UHF MRI. The most common causes of a worse performance were susceptibility artifacts and magnetic field inhomogeneities (3 of 9). Imaging of the pituitary gland, pineal gland veins, cranial nerves, and tumor microvasculature were all shown to be feasible. Conclusions UHF MRI shows promise to improve detection and characterization of brain tumors, preoperative planning for neurosurgical resection, and longitudinal monitoring of the effects of radiation and antibody-based therapies. Technical innovations are needed to overcome field inhomogeneity and susceptibility artifacts in certain regions of the skull. Finally, larger studies comparing 1.5 T, 3.0 T, and 7.0 T or greater will determine whether UHF MRI gains acceptance as a clinical standard.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-465
Number of pages16
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Feb 2016


  • 7 Tesla
  • Brain Tumors
  • MRI
  • Pituitary Tumor
  • Ultrahigh field


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