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FLAIR-only joint volumetric analysis of brain lesions and atrophy in clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) suggestive of multiple sclerosis

Goodkin, O; Prados, F; Vos, SB; Pemberton, H; Collorone, S; Hagens, MHJ; Cardoso, MJ; ... Barkhof, F; + view all (2021) FLAIR-only joint volumetric analysis of brain lesions and atrophy in clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) suggestive of multiple sclerosis. NeuroImage: Clinical , 29 , Article 102542. 10.1016/j.nicl.2020.102542. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: MRI assessment in multiple sclerosis (MS) focuses on the presence of typical white matter (WM) lesions. Neurodegeneration characterised by brain atrophy is recognised in the research field as an important prognostic factor. It is not routinely reported clinically, in part due to difficulty in achieving reproducible measurements. Automated MRI quantification of WM lesions and brain volume could provide important clinical monitoring data. In general, lesion quantification relies on both T1 and FLAIR input images, while tissue volumetry relies on T1. However, T1-weighted scans are not routinely included in the clinical MS protocol, limiting the utility of automated quantification. Objectives: We address an aspect of this important translational challenge by assessing the performance of FLAIR-only lesion and brain segmentation, against a conventional approach requiring multi-contrast acquisition. We explore whether FLAIR-only grey matter (GM) segmentation yields more variability in performance compared with two-channel segmentation; whether this is related to field strength; and whether the results meet a level of clinical acceptability demonstrated by the ability to reproduce established biological associations. Methods: We used a multicentre dataset of subjects with a CIS suggestive of MS scanned at 1.5T and 3T in the same week. WM lesions were manually segmented by two raters, ‘manual 1′ guided by consensus reading of CIS-specific lesions and ‘manual 2′ by any WM hyperintensity. An existing brain segmentation method was adapted for FLAIR-only input. Automated segmentation of WM hyperintensity and brain volumes were performed with conventional (T1/T1 + FLAIR) and FLAIR-only methods. Results: WM lesion volumes were comparable at 1.5T between ‘manual 2′ and FLAIR-only methods and at 3T between ‘manual 2′, T1 + FLAIR and FLAIR-only methods. For cortical GM volume, linear regression measures between conventional and FLAIR-only segmentation were high (1.5T: α = 1.029, R2 = 0.997, standard error (SE) = 0.007; 3T: α = 1.019, R2 = 0.998, SE = 0.006). Age-associated change in cortical GM volume was a significant covariate in both T1 (p = 0.001) and FLAIR-only (p = 0.005) methods, confirming the expected relationship between age and GM volume for FLAIR-only segmentations. Conclusions: FLAIR-only automated segmentation of WM lesions and brain volumes were consistent with results obtained through conventional methods and had the ability to demonstrate biological effects in our study population. Imaging protocol harmonisation and validation with other MS phenotypes could facilitate the integration of automated WM lesion volume and brain atrophy analysis as clinical tools in radiological MS reporting.

Type: Article
Title: FLAIR-only joint volumetric analysis of brain lesions and atrophy in clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) suggestive of multiple sclerosis
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.nicl.2020.102542
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nicl.2020.102542
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Magnetic resonance imaging, Multiple sclerosis, Demyelinating diseases, Neurodegenerative diseases
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Brain Repair and Rehabilitation
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Neuroinflammation
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Med Phys and Biomedical Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10118724
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