Background: Patients with glioblastoma (GBM) and high-grade glioma (HGG, World Health Organization [WHO] grade IV glioma) have a poor prognosis. Consequently, there is an unmet clinical need for accessible and noninvasively acquired predictive biomarkers of overall survival in patients. This study evaluated morphological changes in the brain separated from the tumor invasion site (ie, contralateral hemisphere). Specifically, we examined the prognostic value of widespread alterations of cortical thickness (CT) in GBM/HGG patients. Methods: We used FreeSurfer, applied with high-resolution T1-weighted MRI, to examine CT, evaluated prior to standard treatment with surgery and chemoradiation in patients (GBM/HGG, N = 162, mean age 61.3 years) and 127 healthy controls (HC; 61.9 years mean age). We then compared CT in patients to HC and studied patients' associated changes in CT as a potential biomarker of overall survival. Results: Compared to HC cases, patients had thinner gray matter in the contralesional hemisphere at the time of tumor diagnosis. patients had significant cortical thinning in parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes. Fourteen cortical parcels showed reduced CT, whereas in 5, it was thicker in patients' cases. Notably, CT in the contralesional hemisphere, various lobes, and parcels was predictive of overall survival. A machine learning classification algorithm showed that CT could differentiate short- and long-term survival patients with an accuracy of 83.3%. Conclusions: These findings identify previously unnoticed structural changes in the cortex located in the hemisphere contralateral to the primary tumor mass. Observed changes in CT may have prognostic value, which could influence care and treatment planning for individual patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbervdad034
JournalNeuro-Oncology Advances
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023


  • biomarker of GBM and HGG
  • brain tumor
  • cortical thickness
  • glioblastoma and high-grade glioma
  • overall survival


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