Evans, S. M., Jenkins, K. W., Jenkins, W. T., Dilling, T., Judy, K. D., Schrlau, A., Judkins, A., Hahn, S. M. and Koch, C. J. Imaging and Analytical Methods as Applied to the Evaluation of Vasculature and Hypoxia in Human Brain Tumors. Radiat. Res. 170, 677–690 (2008).
Tissue hypoxia results from the interaction of cellular respiration, vascular oxygen carrying capacity, and vessel distribution. We studied the relationship between tumor vasculature and regions of low pO2 using quantitative analysis of binding of the 2-nitroimidazole EF5 given to patients intravenously (21 mg/kg) approximately 24 h preceding surgery. We describe new computer algorithms for determining EF5 binding as a function of radial distance from individual blood vessels and converting this value to tissue pO2. Tissues from six human brain tumors were assessed. In a hemangiopericytoma, a WHO Grade 2 and WHO Grade 3 glial brain tumor, all tissue pO2 values calculated by EF5 binding were >20 mmHg (described as “physiologically oxygenated”). In these three tumors, EF5 binding gradients (measured as a function of distance from each observed vessel) were low, with small positive and negative values averaging close to zero. Much lower tissue oxygen levels were found, including near some vessels, in glioblastomas. Gradients of EF5 binding away from vessels were larger in glioblastomas than in the low-grade tumors, but positive and negative values again averaged to near zero. Based on these preliminary data, we hypothesize a new paradigm for tumor blood flow in human brain tumors whereby in-flowing and out-flowing blood patterns may have contrasting effects on average tissue EF5 (and by inference, oxygen) gradients. Our studies also imply that neither distance to the nearest blood vessel nor distance from each observed blood vessel provide reliable estimates of tissue pO2.