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MR of intracranial epidermoid tumors: correlation of in vivo imaging with in vitro 13C spectroscopy.

We analyzed the MR findings of five patients with benign intracranial epithelial tumors, commonly called epidermoids. The neoplasms were categorized into two groups on the basis of T1-weighted MR signal intensity (relative to brain): high-signal-intensity masses (short T1) and low-signal-intensity masses (long T1). Surgical specimens were obtained and analyzed by means of 13C MR spectroscopy. Epidermoids with short T1 values (white epidermoids) had a high lipid content comprising mixed triglycerides containing unsaturated fatty acid residues. Epidermoids with long T1 values (black epidermoids) exhibited a much reduced lipid content with no triglycerides or fatty acids. There was evidence of trace amounts of cholesterol in the black epidermoids. Our data indicate that epidermoids are a heterogeneous group of neoplasms that behave differently with T1-weighted MR imaging and 13C MR spectroscopy. The combination of MR imaging and spectroscopy holds the potential of further elucidating the nature of epidermoids as well as of other forms of neoplasms.

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