Inversion recovery (IR), commonly considered a pulse sequence capable of producing T1-weighted images with excellent display of normal anatomy, is versatile: The null point and peak time provide a useful, succinct summary of the properties of IR and its capacity for producing both T1- and T2-weighted images. Shortening of the inversion time (TI) and creation of a short-TI inversion-recovery (STIR) pulse sequence increases sensitivity to malignancy and other abnormalities by making the effects of prolonged T1 and T2 on signal intensity additive and by nulling the signal from fat. The authors examined over 300 patients with various malignancies and compared STIR images with T1- and T2-weighted images obtained at 0.5 T. In 43 cases, signal-difference-to-noise ratios (SD/Ns) were calculated between tumor, fat, and muscle. In general, STIR images demonstrated tumor as a conspicuously high-intensity area in a background of muted, discernible anatomic detail. The good contrast achieved with STIR sequences between tumor and fat (SD/N = 18.1) and tumor and muscle (SD/N = 12.9) consolidated into a single image the information contained separately on T1- and T2-weighted images, which facilitates efficient detection and localization of malignancy.