prof. Ingeborg Goethals (MD, PhD)

CRIG group leader
Ingeborg Goethals

Head of Clinic - Department of Nuclear Medicine (Ghent University Hospital)
Full professor - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (University Ghent)
Department chair - Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine (GE16, UGent)
Principal Investigator Nuclear Medicine - Neuro-Oncology Research Group Ghent University Hospital / University Ghent
Member of the Board of Governors- Belgian Association Neuro-Oncology (BANO)


Research focus

The multidisciplinary neuro-oncology research group of the Ghent University Hospital/Ghent University has a unique expertise in clinical and preclinical multimodality imaging of (high-grade) brain tumours (the latter in collaboration with INovative Flemish IN vivo Imaging TechnologY (INFINITY), the preclinical core imaging facility of Ghent University) for (differential) diagnosis, biopsy guidance, radiation treatment planning and therapy response assessment. In adults, high-grade gliomas are the most aggressive and most common malignant primary brain tumours. Mean overall survival after diagnosis is, even with the current state-of-the-art treatment, only 12 to 14 months. To improve overall survival, we propose the optimization of the radiation treatment. Currently, for the planning of the radiation treatment, anatomical imaging techniques, such computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used. However, CT and anatomical MRI are not able to identify the most malignant and/or radiation resistant tumour parts. Given the presence of a biological heterogeneity, we hypothesize that, while keeping the total prescribed radiation dose to the tumour unchanged, a non-uniform irradiation dose using an integrated boost could improve patient outcome. This is because local tumour recurrence in the brain always originates from the most malignant tumour cells that escaped (conventional) radiation treatment. This novel approach, called dose painting, takes into account the biological tumour heterogeneity which can be mapped using molecular imaging techniques, such as PET imaging. In the context of our hypothesis, it is important to identify the tumour parts with the highest degree of malignancy and/or radiation resistance. For that purpose, specific PET-tracers will be used. It is also worth mentioning that the entire process of research & development of PET-tracers takes place at the on-site cyclotron in close collaboration with the radiopharmacy lab Ugent.


Ingeborg Goethals is trained at the Ghent University both as a neurologist and a nuclear medicine physician. 
In 2004, she succesfully defended her Ph. D. thesis entitled: 'Exploration of the Prefrontal Cortex by means of Neuroactivation and Receptor Imaging Studies with Single Photon Emission Tomography'. 
Since 2006, she is fully employed at the department of nuclear medicine of the Ghent University Hospital and is Head of Clinic since more than a decade.
As a medical senior staff member, she is dedicated to conventional nuclear medicine, PET-CT imaging in oncology and inflammatory and infectious disease, as well as PET and SPECT imaging of the brain with an emphasis on refractory epilepsy, cognitive impairment and dementia and brain tumours.
She is also the trainer of the residents-in-training for nuclear medicine at the Ghent University Hospital.
Concerning her research activities, she is principal investigator of the neuro-oncology research group wich focuses on multimodality imaging of rat brain glioblastoma. Her scientific work resulted in many original papers published both in national and international journals (see also PubMed). 
Since the start of the neuro-oncology research group in 2010, she was the promotor of the work by Koen Mertens and Julie Bolcaen who both successfully defended their Ph.D. thesis respectively in 2014 and 2017. Currently, she supervises novel Ph. D. students who are working in the field of neuroscience (not only brain cancer).   


Research team

Key publications

  • 'In Vivo DCE-MRI for the Discrimination Between Glioblastoma and Radiation Necrosis in Rats'. Mol Imaging Biol., 2017. (PMID: 28303489)
  • '18F-FCho PET and MRI for the prediction of response in glioblastoma patients according to the RANO criteria'. Nucl. Med. Commun., 2017. (PMID: 27984537)
  • 'Late mucosal ulcers in dose-escalated adaptive dose-painting treatments for head-and-neck cancer'. Acta. Oncol., 2017. (PMID: 28885076)
  • 'Long-term outcome of 18 F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography-guided dose painting for head and neck cancer: Matched case-control study'. Head Neck, 2017. (PMID: 28833829)
  • 'Kinetic Modeling and Graphical Analysis of 18F-Fluoromethylcholine (FCho), 18F-Fluoroethyltyrosine (FET) and 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET for the Fiscrimination between High-Grade Glioma and Radiation Necrosis in Rats'. PLoS One, 2016. (PMID: 27559736)
  • '(18)F-fluoromethylcholine (FCho), (18)F-fluoroethyltyrosine (FET), and (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) for the discrimination between high-grade glioma and radiation necrosis in rats: a PET study'. Nucl Med Biol, 2015. (PMID: 25218024)
  • 'MRI-guided 3D conformal arc micro-irradiation of a F98 glioblastoma rat model using the Small Animal Radiation Research Platform (SARRP)'. J Neurooncol, 2014. (PMID: 25069566)
  • 'Structural and metabolic features of two different variants of multiple sclerosis: a PET/MRI study'. J Neuroimaging, 2013. (PMID: 23279326)
  • 'Validation of 18F-FDG PET at conventional and delayed intervals for the discrimination of high-grade from low-grade gliomas: a stereotactic PET and MRI study'. Clin. Nucl. Med., 2013. (PMID: 23640217)
  • 'The optimal timing for imaging brain tumours and other brain lesions with 18F-labelled fluoromethylcholine: a dynamic positron emission tomography study'. Nucl Med Commun, 2012. (PMID: 22842224)

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