Objective: The objectives of this study were to compare MRI and iodine-123 ((123)I) metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintigraphy in the detection of neuroblastoma lesions in pediatric patients and to assess the additional value of combined imaging.
Materials and methods: Fifty MRI and 50 (123)I MIBG examinations (mean interval, 6.4 days) were analyzed retrospectively with regard to suspected or proven neuroblastoma lesions (n = 193) in 28 patients. MRI and MIBG scans were reviewed by two independent observers each. Separate and combined analyses of MRI and MIBG scintigraphy were compared with clinical and histologic findings.
Results: With regard to the diagnosis of neuroblastoma lesion, MIBG scintigraphy, MRI, and combined analysis showed a sensitivity of 69%, 86%, and 99% and a specificity of 85%, 77%, and 95%, respectively. On MRI, 15 false-positive findings were recorded: posttherapeutic reactive changes (n = 10), benign adrenal tumors (n = 3), and enlarged lymph nodes (n = 2). On MIBG scintigraphy, 10 false-positive findings occurred: ganglioneuromas (n = 2), benign liver tumors (n = 2), and physiologic uptake (n = 6). Thirteen neuroblastoma metastases and two residual masses under treatment with chemotherapy were judged to be false-negative findings on MRI. Two primary or residual neuroblastomas and one orbital metastasis were misinterpreted as Wilms' tumor, reactive changes after surgery, and rhabdomyosarcoma on MRI. Thirty-two bone metastases, six other neuroblastoma metastases, and one adrenal neuroblastoma showed no MIBG uptake. On combined imaging, one false-negative (bone metastasis) and three false-positive (two ganglioneuromas and one pheochromocytoma) findings remained.
Conclusion: In the assessment of neuroblastoma lesions in pediatric patients, MRI showed a higher sensitivity and MIBG scintigraphy a higher specificity. However, integrated imaging showed an increase in both sensitivity and specificity.