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Nenning, Karl-Heinz; Furtner, Julia; Kiesel, Barbara; Schwartz, Ernst; Roetzer, Thomas; Fortelny, Nikolaus; Bock, Christoph; Grisold, Anna; Marko, Martha; Leutmezer, Fritz; Liu, Hesheng; Golland, Polina; Stöcklein, Sophia; Hainfellner, Johannes A.; Kasprian, Gregor; Prayer, Daniela; Marosi, Christine; Widhalm, Georg; Woehrer, Adelheid; Langs, Georg (2020): Distributed changes of the functional connectome in patients with glioblastoma. In: Scientific Reports, Vol. 10, No. 1, 18312
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Glioblastoma might have widespread effects on the neural organization and cognitive function, and even focal lesions may be associated with distributed functional alterations. However, functional changes do not necessarily follow obvious anatomical patterns and the current understanding of this interrelation is limited. In this study, we used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to evaluate changes in global functional connectivity patterns in 15 patients with glioblastoma. For six patients we followed longitudinal trajectories of their functional connectome and structural tumour evolution using bi-monthly follow-up scans throughout treatment and disease progression. In all patients, unilateral tumour lesions were associated with inter-hemispherically symmetric network alterations, and functional proximity of tumour location was stronger linked to distributed network deterioration than anatomical distance. In the longitudinal subcohort of six patients, we observed patterns of network alterations with initial transient deterioration followed by recovery at first follow-up, and local network deterioration to precede structural tumour recurrence by two months. In summary, the impact of focal glioblastoma lesions on the functional connectome is global and linked to functional proximity rather than anatomical distance to tumour regions. Our findings further suggest a relevance for functional network trajectories as a possible means supporting early detection of tumour recurrence.