Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the changes in the MR appearance of painful lesions of the spine before and after treatment in 18 patients with multiple myeloma and to correlate these changes with the clinical response to treatment.
Subjects and methods: Eighteen patients with multiple myeloma and tumor nodules in the spine had MR imaging of the same site in the spine before and after treatment. Unenhanced T1- and T2-weighted spin-echo images, dynamic ultrafast low-angle shot (turbo-FLASH) images before and after IV bolus injection of paramagnetic contrast material, and contrast-enhanced T1-weighted spin-echo images were obtained. Characteristic signal and contrast enhancement before and after treatment were compared and were correlated with clinical data and the results of immunochemical and pathologic tests.
Results: Changes in signal intensity and enhancement of the lesions occurred after treatment in 14 of 18 patients. The characteristics of the lesions after treatment had three patterns: (1) rim enhancement or no enhancement of the lesions, (2) early enhancing lesions associated with other nonenhancing lesions or lesions with rim enhancement, and (3) no change from the enhancement pattern seen before treatment. In 13 of 18 patients, these patterns correlated well with the response to treatment. A discrepancy was observed in five patients.
Conclusion: The MR appearance of spinal myeloma is different before and after treatment. MR images, particularly contrast-enhanced images, may be helpful in monitoring the response to treatment of focal bone lesions of myeloma.