Magnetization transfer imaging diagnosis of intracranial tuberculomas

M. H. Pui, M. N. Ahmad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Tuberculomas (TB) can mimic brain tumors and abscesses. We performed prospective magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) analysis on 60 patients with 52 intracranial TB, 13 pyogenic abscesses and 65 tumors to determine the efficacy of magnetization transfer (MT) imaging in the differential diagnosis of brain tumors and infection. The nonenhancing cores of TB had significantly higher (P = .026) MTR (0.14 ± 0.29) than necrotic components of high-grade gliomas (-0.19 ± 0.22). The MTR of cores of TB were also higher than those of the cystic areas of low-grade gliomas (-0.53 ± 0.32), benign (-0.09 ± 0.21) and malignant (-0.07 ± 0.25) tumors, and abscesses (-0.03 ± 0.13), but the differences were not significant because of the small number of tumors and abscesses. There was also no significant difference between the MTR of abscesses, malignant and benign tumors. Using the criteria of MTR of necrotic center > 0.14 (mean MTR of TB) for diagnosing TB, MTR < -0.03 (mean MTR of abscesses) for diagnosing tumors and MTR between these values for diagnosing abscesses, MTI had diagnostic sensitivity of 68.42%, specificity of 80.49%, and accuracy of 76.67%. The improved diagnostic accuracy of MRI with the addition of MTR analysis from 86.67% to 91.67% and from 85.71% to 87.50% for both radiologists respectively was not significant. MTR analysis helped us to differentiate solitary TB or abscess from low-grade glioma in five patients and to diagnose multiple TB, abscesses, and metastases in four.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-215
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Abscess
  • Brain
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Magnetization transfer
  • Tuberculosis
  • Tumor


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