Computer-assisted Curie scoring for metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scans in patients with neuroblastoma

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2018 Dec;65(12):e27417. doi: 10.1002/pbc.27417. Epub 2018 Sep 10.


Background: Radiolabeled metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) is sensitive and specific for detecting neuroblastoma. The extent of MIBG-avid disease is assessed using Curie scores. Although Curie scoring is prognostic in patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, there is no standardized method to assess the response of specific sites of disease over time. The goal of this study was to develop approaches for Curie scoring to facilitate the calculation of scores and comparison of specific sites on serial scans.

Procedure: We designed three semiautomated methods for determining Curie scores, each with increasing degrees of computer assistance. Method A was based on visual assessment and tallying of MIBG-avid lesions. For method B, scores were tabulated from a schematic that associated anatomic regions to MIBG-positive lesions. For method C, an anatomic mesh was used to mark MIBG-positive lesions with automatic assignment and tallying of scores. Five imaging physicians experienced in MIBG interpretation scored 38 scans using each method, and the feasibility and utility of the methods were assessed using surveys.

Results: There was good reliability between methods and observers. The user-interface methods required 57 to 110 seconds longer than the visual method. Imaging physicians indicated that it was useful that methods B and C enabled tracking of lesions. Imaging physicians preferred method B to method C because of its efficiency.

Conclusions: We demonstrate the feasibility of semiautomated approaches for Curie score calculation. Although more time was needed for strategies B and C, the ability to track and document individual MIBG-positive lesions over time is a strength of these methods.

Keywords: Curie score; MIBG; neuroblastoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neuroblastoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radionuclide Imaging / methods*
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Young Adult


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • 3-Iodobenzylguanidine