J Leitner, S Pelster, V Schöpf, AS Berghoff, R Woitek, U Asenbaum, K-H Nenning, G Widhalm, B Kiesel, B Gatterbauer, K Dieckmann, P Birner, D Prayer, M Preusser, J Furtner
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to assess the correlation of temporal muscle thickness (TMT), measured on routine cranial magnetic resonance (MR) images, with lumbar skeletal muscles obtained on computed tomography (CT) images in brain metastasis patients to establish a new parameter estimating skeletal muscle mass on brain MR images. METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed the cross-sectional area (CSA) of skeletal muscles at the level of the third lumbar vertebra on computed tomography scans and correlated these values with TMT on MR images of the brain in two independent cohorts of 93 lung cancer and 61 melanoma patients (overall: 154 patients) with brain metastases. RESULTS: Pearson correlation revealed a strong association between mean TMT and CSA in lung cancer and melanoma patients with brain metastases (0.733; p<0.001). The two study cohorts did not differ significantly in patient characteristics, including age (p = 0.661), weight (p = 0.787), and height (p = 0.123). However, TMT and CSA measures differed significantly between male and female patients in both lung cancer and melanoma patients with brain metastases (p<0.001). CONCLUSION: Our data indicate that TMT, measured on routine cranial MR images, is a useful surrogate parameter for the estimation of skeletal muscle mass in patients with brain metastases. Thus, TMT may be useful for prognostic assessment, treatment considerations, and stratification or a selection factor for clinical trials in patients with brain metastases. Further studies are needed to assess the association between TMT and clinical frailty parameters, and the usefulness of TMT in patients with primary brain tumors.