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Functional brain imaging interventions for radiation therapy planning in patients with glioblastoma: a systematic review

Ryan, J. T., Nakayama, M., Gleeson, I. , Mannion, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-9400-9238, Geso, M., Kelly, J., Ng, S. P. & Hardcastle, N. (2022). Functional brain imaging interventions for radiation therapy planning in patients with glioblastoma: a systematic review. Radiation Oncology, 17(1), article number 178. doi: 10.1186/s13014-022-02146-8


This systematic review aims to synthesise the outcomes of different strategies of incorporating functional biological markers in the radiation therapy plans of patients with glioblastoma to support clinicians and further research.

The systematic review protocol was registered on PROSPERO (CRD42021221021). A structured search for publications was performed following PRISMA guidelines. Quality assessment was performed using the Newcastle–Ottawa Scale. Study characteristics, intervention methodology and outcomes were extracted using Covidence. Data analysis focused on radiation therapy target volumes, toxicity, dose distributions, recurrence and survival mapped to functional image-guided radiotherapy interventions.

There were 5733 citations screened, with 53 citations (n = 32 studies) meeting review criteria. Studies compared standard radiation therapy planning volumes with functional image-derived volumes (n = 20 studies), treated radiation therapy volumes with recurrences (n = 15 studies), the impact on current standard target delineations (n = 9 studies), treated functional volumes and survival (n = 8 studies), functionally guided dose escalation (n = 8 studies), radiomics (n = 4 studies) and optimal organ at risk sparing (n = 3 studies). The approaches to target outlining and dose escalation were heterogeneous. The analysis indicated an improvement in median overall survival of over two months compared with a historical control group. Simultaneous-integrated-boost dose escalation of 72–76 Gy in 30 fractions appeared to have an acceptable toxicity profile when delivered with inverse planning to a volume smaller than 100 cm3.

There was significant heterogeneity between the approaches taken by different study groups when implementing functional image-guided radiotherapy. It is recommended that functional imaging data be incorporated into the gross tumour volume with appropriate technology-specific margins used to create the clinical target volume when designing radiation therapy plans for patients with glioblastoma.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Systematic review, Functional imaging, Glioblastoma, Radiotherapy planning
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
SWORD Depositor:
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