Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 119, Issue 3, pp 491–502 | Cite as

The evolving role of neurological imaging in neuro-oncology

  • E. J. Fontana
  • T. Benzinger
  • C. Cobbs
  • J. Henson
  • S. J. Fouke
Topic Review


Neuroimaging has played a critical role in the management of patients with neurological disease, since the first ventriculogram was performed in 1918 by Walter Dandy (Mezger et al. Langenbecks Arch Surg 398(4):501–514, 2013). Over the last century, technology has evolved significantly, and within the last decade, the role of imaging in the management of patients with neuro-oncologic disease has shifted from a tool for gross identification of intracranial pathology, to an integral part of real-time neurological surgery. Current neurological imaging provides detailed information about anatomical structure, neurological function, and metabolic and metabolism—important characteristics that help clinicians and surgeons non-invasively manage patients with brain tumors. It is valuable to review the evolution of neurological imaging over the past several decades, focusing on its role in the management of patients with intracranial tumors. Novel neuro-imaging tools and developing technology with the potential to further transform clinical practice will be discussed, as will the key role neurological imaging plays in neurosurgical planning and intraoperative navigation. With increasingly complex imaging modalities creating growing amounts of raw data, validation of techniques, data analysis, and integrating various pieces of imaging data into individual patient management plans, remain significant challenges for clinicians. We thus suggest mechanisms that might ultimately allow for evidence based integration of imaging in the management of patients with neuro-oncologic disease.


Imaging MRI PET Brain tumor 


Conflict of interest

None of the authors (specifically Elizabeth Fontana, John Henson, Charles Cobbs, Tammie Benzinger, or Sarah Fouke) have a financial relationship with the organization sponsoring the research/review discussed within this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. J. Fontana
    • 1
  • T. Benzinger
    • 2
  • C. Cobbs
    • 1
  • J. Henson
    • 1
  • S. J. Fouke
    • 1
  1. 1.Swedish Neuroscience InstituteSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, Mallinckrodt Institute of RadiologySt. LouisUSA

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