Tomography, 2(8), p. 789-797, 2022
Background and Purpose: Gliomas have been found to alter iron metabolism and transport in ways that result in an expansion of their intracellular iron compartments to support aggressive tumor growth. This study used deep neural network trained quantitative susceptibility mapping to assess basal ganglia iron concentrations in glioma patients. Materials and Methods: Ninety-two patients with brain lesions were initially enrolled in this study and fifty-nine met the inclusion criteria. Susceptibility-weighted images were collected at 3.0 T and used to construct quantitative susceptibility maps via a deep neural network-based method. The regions of interest were manually drawn within basal ganglia structures and the mean voxel intensities were extracted and averaged across multiple slices. One-way ANCOVA tests were conducted to compare the susceptibility values of groups of patients based on tumor grade while controlling for age, sex, and tumor type. Results: The mean basal ganglia susceptibility for patients with grade IV tumors was higher than that for patients with grade II tumors (p = 0.00153) and was also higher for patients with grade III tumors compared to patients with grade II tumors (p = 0.020), after controlling for age, sex, and tumor type. Patient age influenced susceptibility values (p = 0.00356), while sex (p = 0.69) and tumor type (p = 0.11) did not. Conclusions: The basal ganglia iron content increased with glioma severity. Basal ganglia iron levels may thus be a useful biomarker in glioma prognosis and treatment, especially with regard to iron-based cancer therapies.