Whole-body MRI of neuroblastoma

Eur J Radiol. 2010 Sep;75(3):306-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2009.09.014. Epub 2009 Sep 24.


Whole-body MRI (WBMRI) is an emerging imaging method that has a great potential in pediatric oncologic imaging. It appears useful in staging and monitoring neuroblastoma although its clinical impact has not been thoroughly evaluated. Among various imaging techniques currently available for WBMRI, coronal and sagittal STIR imaging with a quadrature body coil at 1.5T MR system is recommended for a standard protocol. Nevertheless, further technical improvements are anticipated at 3.0T MR system and multi-channel surface coil system. Scan time of WBMRI is reasonably short ranging from 20 min to 60 min. In localized neuroblastoma, WBMRI may help in predicting surgical risks by evaluating image-defined risk factors accurately. In addition, WBMRI is quite useful in detecting distant metastasis, assessing initial treatment responses, and identifying tumor recurrence of neuroblastoma. We should understand limitations of WBMRI in the evaluation of lymph node involvement, in the differentiation between viable tumor and non-viable residual lesion, and in the detection of calcified lesion. Diffusion-weighted imaging may improve diagnostic accuracy of WBMRI. Complementary use of WBMRI and other metabolic imaging method such as MIBG scintigraphy or PET probably increases diagnostic accuracy and, subsequently, improves clinical outcome of children with neuroblastoma.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology*
  • Whole Body Imaging / methods*