, Volume 61, Issue 6, pp 711–720 | Cite as

Diagnostic performance of an unenhanced MRI exam for tumor follow-up of the optic pathway gliomas in children

  • Pierre MarsaultEmail author
  • Stéphane Ducassou
  • Fanny Menut
  • Pierre Bessou
  • Marion Havez-Enjolras
  • Jean-François Chateil
Paediatric Neuroradiology



Contrast-enhanced MRI (MRI + C) is considered as mandatory for brain tumors follow-up, but gadolinium brain depositions in relation with repeated injections have been reported. The aim of our work was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of an unenhanced MRI examination for the follow-up of optic pathway gliomas (OPG) in children.


Seventeen patients (with/without NF1) were selected from 2001 to 2017, with at least 5 MRI + C brain follow-up examinations. Privacy and data protection rights were addressed by the data protection officer (DPO) and the study was in accordance with the local ethical rules. Twenty-five cases of tumor progression and 25 cases of tumor stability mentioned in the conclusion of radiological reports (defined as gold standard) were isolated. Those exams were anonymized and independently reviewed by two radiologists, who analyzed both quantitative (such as tumor volume variation) and qualitative criteria (such as ventricular dilatation) on unenhanced images. Sensitivity, specificity, positive/negative predictive values (PPV, NPV), and inter/intra-observer agreement were calculated.


The mean age of patients was 5.4 ± 3.4 years and mean follow-up length 6.7 years. The mean number of MRI + C was 13.5 (SD 7.2). The sensitivity of unenhanced MRI for tumor follow-up was 84–88% (95% CI 63.9–97.5). The specificity was 91.3–100% (95% CI 72–100). The PPV was 91.7% for reader 1 and 100% for reader 2. The NVP was 87.5% for reader 1 and 85.2% for reader 2. There was an excellent inter-observer agreement regarding tumor progression: kappa coefficient of 0.87 (p < 0.001). Inter/intra-variability for percentage of tumor volume variation between two exams were good (correlation coefficients of 0.97 and 0.94).


Tumor volume variation is in most cases sufficient to assess OPG progression. Systematic MRI + C could be questionable.


Optic pathway glioma MRI Neurofibromatosis type 1 Children 



To Julie Blanchard for her assistance in the preparation of imaging data.


This study was not supported by any funding.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study, formal consent is not required.

Informed consent

For this type of study, consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019
corrected publication 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pediatric RadiologyPellegrin Children’s HospitalBordeauxFrance
  2. 2.Department of Pediatric Hematology and OncologyPellegrin Children’s HospitalBordeauxFrance
  3. 3.CRMSB, UMR 5536CNRS/University of BordeauxBordeaux CedexFrance

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