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Pseudoprogression in high-grade glioma


K. M. Knudsen-Baas, Department of Neurology, Haukeland University Hospital, Servicebox 5021 Bergen, Norway

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Pseudoprogression is a treatment-related effect seen on imaging in high-grade glioma. Enhancement of gadolinium contrast on control MRI can be misinterpreted as tumor recurrence and is also difficult to distinguish from radiation necrosis. Pseudoprogression is seen in up to 30% after standard treatment for glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), which is radiotherapy concurrent with chemotherapy with temozolomide (TMZ) and adjuvant cycles of TMZ. In this article, the current literature on pseudoprogression in high-grade glioma is reviewed by searches in PubMed. We also present two clinical cases, one of which had medullary pseudoprogression. No articles on this subentity of pseudoprogression were found in PubMed. Standard MRI with gadolinium contrast cannot differentiate between pseudoprogression, tumor recurrence and radiation necrosis. More advanced imaging techniques are often not available. Pseudoprogression seems to be related to methylated promoter of the O6- methyl-guanine methyl transferase (MGMT) gene, which is associated with improved treatment effect. Discontinuation or change of therapy on the basis of misinterpretation of MRI as disease progression is thus unfortunate. MRI should be interpreted with caution the first 6 months after standard treatment of high-grade glioma. In a GBM patient with contrast enhancement on MRI but few or no new symptoms and/or stable steroid doses, treatment should be continued and control imaging performed after 2–3 months.