Measurements of tophus size can be important in monitoring the course of gout therapy, as tophus resolution is proposed as one measure of success of treatment. This multicentre study assessed the intra- and interreader reproducibility of quantitative tophus volume measurements from magnetic resonance images (MRI) in subjects with palpable gouty tophi. Subjects first underwent radiographic imaging of a selected tophus followed by MRI before and at <or=5, 10 and 20-min after gadolinium administration. After choosing optimal parameters, subjects underwent pre- and postgadolinium-enhanced MRIs of a selected tophus on two occasions separated by 5-10 days. Unenhanced spin-echo images provided satisfactory tophi images and were less subject to interfering artefacts than gadolinium-enhanced gradient-echo images. Intrareader reproducibility was excellent, with no statistically significant difference in mean tophus volume between visits (mean difference - 0.05 +/- 0.97 cm3). A small but statistically significant difference in interreader mean tophus volume was detected (mean difference 0.89 +/- 2.05 cm3; p < 0.05). MRI can quantify tophus size in gout and deserves further comparison with other techniques for tophus size monitoring in assessing effects of gout therapy.