Glioblastoma, a highly aggressive form of brain tumor, is a brain-wide disease. We evaluated the impact of tumor burden on whole brain resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) activity. Specifically, we analyzed rs-fMRI signals in the temporal frequency domain in terms of the power-law exponent and fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (fALFF). We contrasted 189 patients with newly-diagnosed glioblastoma versus 189 age-matched healthy reference participants from an external dataset. The patient and reference datasets were matched for age and head motion. The principal finding was markedly flatter spectra and reduced grey matter fALFF in the patients as compared to the reference dataset. We posit that the whole-brain spectral change is attributable to global dysregulation of excitatory and inhibitory balance and metabolic demand in the tumor-bearing brain. Additionally, we observed that clinical comorbidities, in particular, seizures, and MGMT promoter methylation, were associated with flatter spectra. Notably, the degree of change in spectra was predictive of overall survival. Our findings suggest that frequency domain analysis of rs-fMRI activity provides prognostic information in glioblastoma patients and offers a means of noninvasively studying the effects of glioblastoma on the whole brain.
- Clinical comorbidities
- Fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (fALFF)
- Intrinsic brain activity
- Power-law exponent
- Resting-state fMRI