Central nervous system (CNS) gliomas are the most common primary intra-axial brain tumours and pose variable treatment response according to their grade, therefore, precise staging is mandatory. Histopathological analysis of surgical tumour samples is still deemed as the state-of-the-art staging technique for gliomas due to the moderate specificity of the available non-invasive imaging modalities. A recently evolved analysis of the tissue water diffusion properties, known as diffusional kurtosis imaging (DKI), is a dimensionless metric, which quantifies water molecules’ degree of non-Gaussian diffusion, hence reflects tissue microenvironment’s complexity by means of non-invasive diffusion-weighted MRI acquisitions. The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to explore the performance of DKI in the presurgical grading of gliomas, both regarding the differentiation between high-grade and low-grade gliomas as well as the discrimination between gliomas and other intra-axial brain tumours.
We will search PubMed, Medline via Ovid, Embase and Scopus in July 2018 for research studies published between January 1990 and June 2018 with no language restrictions, which have reported on the performance of DKI in diagnosing CNS gliomas. Robust inclusion/exclusion criteria will be applied for selection of eligible articles. Two authors will separately perform quality assessment according to the quality assessment of diagnostic accuracy studies-2 tool. Data will be extracted in a predesigned spreadsheet. A meta-analysis will be held using a random-effects model if substantial statistical heterogeneity is expected. The heterogeneity of studies will be evaluated, and sensitivity analyses will be conducted according to individual study quality.
This work will be based on published studies; hence, it does not require institutional review board approval or ethics clearance. The results will be published in peer-reviewed journals.