JOURNAL ARTICLE

T2*-based MR imaging (gradient echo or susceptibility-weighted imaging) in midline and off-midline intracranial germ cell tumors: a pilot study

Giovanni Morana, Cesar Augusto Alves, Domenico Tortora, Jonathan L Finlay, Mariasavina Severino, Paolo Nozza, Marcello Ravegnani, Marco Pavanello, Claudia Milanaccio, Mohamad Maghnie, Andrea Rossi, Maria Luisa Garrè
Neuroradiology 2018, 60 (1): 89-99
29128947

PURPOSE: The role of T2*-based MR imaging in intracranial germ cell tumors (GCTs) has not been fully elucidated. The aim of this study was to evaluate the susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) or T2* gradient echo (GRE) features of germinomas and non-germinomatous germ cell tumors (NGGCTs) in midline and off-midline locations.

METHODS: We retrospectively evaluated all consecutive pediatric patients referred to our institution between 2005 and 2016, for newly diagnosed, treatment-naïve intracranial GCT, who underwent MRI, including T2*-based MR imaging (T2* GRE sequences or SWI). Standard pre- and post-contrast T1- and T2-weighted imaging characteristics along with T2*-based MR imaging features of all lesions were evaluated. Diagnosis was performed in accordance with the SIOP CNS GCT protocol criteria.

RESULTS: Twenty-four subjects met the inclusion criteria (17 males and 7 females). There were 17 patients with germinomas, including 5 basal ganglia primaries, and 7 patients with secreting NGGCT. All off-midline germinomas presented with SWI or GRE hypointensity; among midline GCT, all NGGCTs showed SWI or GRE hypointensity whereas all but one pure germinoma were isointense or hyperintense to normal parenchyma. A significant difference emerged on T2*-based MR imaging among midline germinomas, NGGCTs, and off-midline germinomas (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: Assessment of the SWI or GRE characteristics of intracranial GCT may potentially assist in differentiating pure germinomas from NGGCT and in the characterization of basal ganglia involvement. T2*-based MR imaging is recommended in case of suspected intracranial GCT.

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