MIBG in Neuroblastoma Diagnostic Imaging and Therapy

Radiographics. 2016 Jan-Feb;36(1):258-78. doi: 10.1148/rg.2016150099.


Neuroblastoma is a common malignancy observed in infants and young children. It has a varied prognosis, ranging from spontaneous regression to aggressive metastatic tumors with fatal outcomes despite multimodality therapy. Patients are divided into risk groups on the basis of age, stage, and biologic tumor factors. Multiple clinical and imaging tests are needed for accurate patient assessment. Iodine 123 ((123)I) metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) is the first-line functional imaging agent used in neuroblastoma imaging. MIBG uptake is seen in 90% of neuroblastomas, identifying both the primary tumor and sites of metastatic disease. The addition of single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and SPECT/computed tomography to (123)I-MIBG planar images can improve identification and characterization of sites of uptake. During scan interpretation, use of MIBG semiquantitative scoring systems improves description of disease extent and distribution and may be helpful in defining prognosis. Therapeutic use of MIBG labeled with iodine 131 ((131)I) is being investigated as part of research trials, both as a single agent and in conjunction with other therapies. (131)I-MIBG therapy has been studied in patients with newly diagnosed neuroblastoma and those with relapsed disease. Development and implementation of an institutional (131)I-MIBG therapy research program requires extensive preparation with a focus on radiation protection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine / therapeutic use*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Neuroblastoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Neuroblastoma / radiotherapy*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals / therapeutic use
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine