Staging of neuroblastoma at imaging: report of the radiology diagnostic oncology group

Radiology. 2002 Apr;223(1):168-75. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2231010841.


Purpose: To compare the accuracies of computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and bone scintigraphy in staging disease in patients with neuroblastoma.

Materials and methods: Ninety-six children with newly diagnosed neuroblastoma were enrolled in a multicenter prospective cohort study. CT, MR, and bone scintigraphy were used to evaluate tumor stage. Sensitivity and specificity values and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses were used to compare the accuracy of CT, MR, and scintigraphy for tumor staging.

Results: Eighty-eight patients were eligible for staging analysis, and 45 patients who underwent surgery at initial diagnosis were eligible for analysis of local tumor extent. CT and MR had sensitivities of 43% and 83%, respectively (P <.01), and specificities of 97% and 88%, respectively (P >.05), for detection of stage 4 disease. Areas under the ROC curves for CT and MR were 0.81 and 0.85, respectively (P =.06); that for scintigraphy was 0.83. Addition of scintigraphy to both CT and MR increased the areas under the ROC curves to 0.90 and 0.88, respectively. Accuracy of CT and MR for staging disease confined to the chest or abdomen (stages 1, 2, and 3) was poor.

Conclusion: MR alone and CT and MR combined with bone scintigraphy enable the accurate detection of stage 4 disease. Both CT and MR perform poorly for local tumor staging.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neuroblastoma / diagnosis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed