Functional Mapping before and after Low-Grade Glioma Surgery: A New Way to Decipher Various Spatiotemporal Patterns of Individual Neuroplastic Potential in Brain Tumor Patients

Hugues Duffau
Cancers 2020 September 13, 12 (9)
Intraoperative direct electrostimulation mapping (DEM) is currently the gold-standard for glioma surgery, since functional-based resection allows an optimization of the onco-functional balance (increased resection with preserved quality of life). Besides intrasurgical awake mapping of conation, cognition, and behavior, preoperative mapping by means of functional neuroimaging (FNI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has increasingly been utilized for surgical selection and planning. However, because these techniques suffer from several limitations, particularly for direct functional mapping of subcortical white matter pathways, DEM remains crucial to map neural connectivity. On the other hand, non-invasive FNI and TMS can be repeated before and after surgical resection(s), enabling longitudinal investigation of brain reorganization, especially in slow-growing tumors like low-grade gliomas. Indeed, these neoplasms generate neuroplastic phenomena in patients with usually no or only slight neurological deficits at diagnosis, despite gliomas involving the so-called "eloquent" structures. Here, data gained from perioperative FNI/TMS mapping methods are reviewed, in order to decipher mechanisms underpinning functional cerebral reshaping induced by the tumor and its possible relapse, (re)operation(s), and postoperative rehabilitation. Heterogeneous spatiotemporal patterns of rearrangement across patients and in a single patient over time have been evidenced, with structural changes as well as modifications of intra-hemispheric (in the ipsi-lesional and/or contra-lesional hemisphere) and inter-hemispheric functional connectivity. Such various fingerprints of neural reconfiguration were correlated to different levels of cognitive compensation. Serial multimodal studies exploring neuroplasticity might lead to new management strategies based upon multistage therapeutic approaches adapted to the individual profile of functional reallocation.

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