Brain tumour microstructure is associated with post-surgical cognition

Maite Aznarez-Sanado, Rafael Romero-Garcia (Lead / Corresponding author), Chao Li, Rob C. Morris, Stephen J. Price, Thomas Manly, Thomas Santarius, Yaara Erez, Michael G. Hart, John Suckling

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Brain tumour microstructure is potentially predictive of changes following treatment to cognitive functions subserved by the functional networks in which they are embedded. To test this hypothesis, intra-tumoural microstructure was quantified from diffusion-weighted MRI to identify which tumour subregions (if any) had a greater impact on participants’ cognitive recovery after surgical resection. Additionally, we studied the role of tumour microstructure in the functional interaction between the tumour and the rest of the brain. Sixteen patients (22–56 years, 7 females) with brain tumours located in or near speech-eloquent areas of the brain were included in the analyses. Two different approaches were adopted for tumour segmentation from a multishell diffusion MRI acquisition: the first used a two-dimensional four group partition of feature space, whilst the second used data-driven clustering with Gaussian mixture modelling. For each approach, we assessed the capability of tumour microstructure to predict participants’ cognitive outcomes after surgery and the strength of association between the BOLD signal of individual tumour subregions and the global BOLD signal. With both methodologies, the volumes of partially overlapped subregions within the tumour significantly predicted cognitive decline in verbal skills after surgery. We also found that these particular subregions were among those that showed greater functional interaction with the unaffected cortex. Our results indicate that tumour microstructure measured by MRI multishell diffusion is associated with cognitive recovery after surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5646
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2024


  • Brain tumors
  • Diffusion MRI
  • Microstructure
  • Neurosurgery
  • Tumour microstructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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