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Methodology that improves the follow-up of patients with glioblastoma


Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive brain tumor in adults. Currently, his treatment includes neurosurgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. With all this, the average life expectancy of patients affected by this pathology does not exceed fifteen months.

In this context, researchers from the ITACA Institute of the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) have been working for three years on new biomedical tools that help to monitor this tumor. The last one is ONCOHabitats, a platform that allows clinicians to know, more precisely, the real situation of the patient based on the vascularity of different regions of the tumor.

«These results», emphasizes Juan Miguel García-Gómez, coordinator of the Biomedical Data Science Lab of ITACA Institute, «consolidate the effort of almost 15 years that we have been working in this area. Its potential application has now been validated by 7 European hospitals, in which it was the first multicenter clinical study promoted by the UPV ».

The centers participating in the study have been the Hospital Universitario de La Ribera, the Hospital de Manises, the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, ​​the Hospital Universitario Vall d’Hebrón, the Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria de Parma (Italy), the Center Hospitalier Universitaire de Liège (Belgium) and the Oslo University Hospital (Norway); and the results have been published in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

New regions of the tumor, new biomarkers

The methodology developed by the UPV team helps to discover new regions of the tumor and facilitates the monitoring of the evolution of the patient from new biomarkers. The key, for this, lies in the analysis of 5 types of magnetic resonance -4 morphological images and one of perfusion.

As explained by the researchers of the Biomedical Data Science Lab-ITACA of the UPV, from these magnetic resonance images, and with this methodology, it is possible to establish differentiated areas within tumor and edema. From them, ONCOHabitats allows to obtain vascular biomarkers – cerebral blood volume – in the regions of infiltrated active edema and peripheral tumor that are directly linked to the survival of patients, before undergoing surgical intervention.

184 patients analyzed

In the study, we have worked with magnetic resonance imaging of 184 patients from the 7 centers participating in the clinical study, and we have proved the robustness of the methodology developed by the UPV to calculate the biomarkers against the variability of the application of Magnetic resonance imaging protocols.

In this sense, Mª del Mar Álvarez-Torres, also a researcher at the Biomedical Data Science Lab-ITACA of the UPV, states: «We have verified in 7 hospitals that our methodology is reliable and robust, regardless of the variations that may occur at the time of acquiring and processing the magnetic resonance images and, ultimately, obtaining the biomarkers. This confirms its viability for its implementation in clinical practice. The next step is to biologically characterize what is discovered by image, and we are already working on it ».

National representative in GliMR Cost Action

Following this study, the UPV Biomedical Data Science Lab-ITACA team was selected to be the Spanish representative in the European network GliMR Cost Action for the study of glial tumors by magnetic resonance imaging.

“And, in addition to the utility for clinicians, ONCOhabitats can also be very useful for researchers studying glial tumors with other MRI sequences,” concludes Juan Miguel García-Gómez.

More info (in Spanish)


Sources: UPV’s Information Office & UPVTV