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Magnetic Resonance Elastography in Intracranial Neoplasms: A Scoping Review.

BACKGROUND: Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) allows noninvasive assessment of intracranial tumor mechanics and may thus be predictive of intraoperative conditions. Variations in the use of technical terms complicate reading of current literature, and there is need of a review using consolidated nomenclature.

OBJECTIVES: We present an overview of current literature on MRE relating to human intracranial neoplasms using standardized nomenclature suggested by the MRE guidelines committee. We then discuss the implications of the findings, and suggest approaches for future research.

METHOD: We performed a systematic literature search in PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science; the articles were screened for relevance and then subjected to full text review. Technical terms were consolidated.

RESULTS: We identified 12 studies on MRE in patients with intracranial tumors, including meningiomas, glial tumors including glioblastomas, vestibular schwannomas, hemangiopericytoma, central nervous system lymphoma, pituitary macroadenomas, and brain metastases. The studies had varying objectives that included prediction of intraoperative consistency, histological separation, prediction of adhesiveness, and exploration of the mechanobiology of tumor invasiveness and malignancy. The technical terms were translated using standardized nomenclature. The literature was highly heterogeneous in terms of image acquisition techniques, post-processing, and study design and was generally limited by small and variable cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS: MRE shows potential in predicting tumor consistency, adhesion, and mechanical homogeneity. Furthermore, MRE provides insight into malignant tumor behavior and its relation to tissue mechanics. MRE is still at a preclinical stage, but technical advances, improved understanding of soft tissue rheological impact, and larger samples are likely to enable future clinical introduction.

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