Outcomes after combined use of intraoperative MRI and 5-aminolevulinic acid in high-grade glioma surgery

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Previous studies have shown the individual benefits of 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) and intraoperative (i)MRI in enhancing survival for patients with high-grade glioma. In this retrospective study, we compare rates of progression-free and overall survival between patients who underwent surgical resection with the combination of 5-ALA and iMRI and a control group without iMRI.


In 200 consecutive patients with high-grade gliomas, we recorded age, sex, World Health Organization tumor grade, and pre- and postoperative Karnofsky performance status (good ≥80 and poor <80). A 0.15-Tesla magnet was used for iMRI; all patients operated on with iMRI received 5-ALA. Overall and progression-free survival rates were compared using multivariable regression analysis.


Median overall survival was 13.8 months in the non-iMRI group and 17.9 months in the iMRI group (P = .043). However, on identifying confounding variables (ie, KPS and resection status) in this univariate analysis, we then adjusted for these confounders in multivariate analysis and eliminated this distinction in overall survival (hazard ratio: 1.23, P = .34, 95% CI: 0.81, 1.86). Although 5-ALA enhanced the achievement of gross total resection (odds ratio: 3.19, P = .01, 95% CI: 1.28, 7.93), it offered no effect on overall or progression-free survival when adjusted for resection status.


Gross total resection is the key surgical variable that influences progression and survival in patients with high-grade glioma and more likely when surgical adjuncts, such as iMRI in combination with 5-ALA, are used to enhance resection.

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