Journal of Neurosurgery, Ahead of Print.
OBJECTIVETreatment with a BRAF mutation inhibitor might shrink otherwise refractory craniopharyngiomas and is a promising preoperative treatment to facilitate tumor resection. The aim of this study was to investigate the noninvasive diagnosis of BRAF-mutated craniopharyngiomas based on MRI characteristics.METHODSFifty-two patients with pathologically diagnosed craniopharyngioma were included in this study. Polymerase chain reaction was performed on tumor tissue specimens to detect BRAF and CTNNB1 mutations. MRI manifestations—including tumor location, size, shape, and composition; signal intensity of cysts; enhancement pattern; pituitary stalk morphology; and encasement of the internal carotid artery—were analyzed by 2 neuroradiologists blinded to patient identity and clinical characteristics, including BRAF mutation status. Results were compared between the BRAF-mutated and wild-type (WT) groups. Characteristics that were significantly more prevalent (p < 0.05) in the BRAF-mutated craniopharyngiomas were defined as diagnostic features. The minimum number of diagnostic features needed to make a diagnosis was determined by analyzing the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve.RESULTSEight of the 52 patients had BRAF-mutated craniopharyngiomas, and the remaining 44 had BRAF WT tumors. The clinical characteristics did not differ significantly between the 2 groups. Interobserver agreement for MRI data analysis was relatively reliable, with values of Cohen κ ranging from 0.65 to 0.97 (p < 0.001). A comparison of findings in the 2 patient groups showed that BRAF-mutated craniopharyngiomas tended to be suprasellar (p < 0.001), spherical (p = 0.005), predominantly solid (p = 0.003), and homogeneously enhancing (p < 0.001), and that patients with these tumors tended to have a thickened pituitary stalk (p = 0.014). When at least 3 of these 5 features were present, a tumor might be identified as BRAF mutated with a sensitivity of 1.00 and a specificity of 0.91. The area under the ROC curve for the sum of all 5 diagnostic criteria was 0.989 (p < 0.001).CONCLUSIONSThe BRAF mutation status of craniopharyngiomas might be predicted using certain MRI features with relatively high sensitivity and specificity, thus offering potential guidance for the preoperative administration of BRAF mutation inhibitors.