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J Clin Oncol. 2003 Jul 1;21(13):2486-91.

Correlation of early metastatic response by 123I-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy with overall response and event-free survival in stage IV neuroblastoma.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco 94143-0106, USA.



Metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG), specifically taken up in cells of sympathetic origin, provides a highly sensitive and specific indicator for the detection of metastases in neuroblastoma. The aim of this study was to correlate early response to therapy by MIBG scan, using a semiquantitative scoring method, with the end induction response and event-free survival (EFS) rate in stage IV neuroblastoma.


Seventy-five children older than 1 year and with stage IV neuroblastoma had 123I-MIBG scans at diagnosis, after two and four cycles of induction therapy, and before autologous stem-cell transplantation. The scans were read by two independent observers (concordance > 95%) using a semiquantitative method. Absolute and relative (score divided by initial score) MIBG scores were then correlated with overall pretransplantation response, bone marrow response, and EFS.


The pretransplantation response rate was 81%, and the 3-year EFS rate was 32%, similar to a concomitant group of 375 stage IV patients. The median relative MIBG scores after two, four, and six cycles were 0.5, 0.24, and 0.12, respectively. The probability of having a complete response or very good partial response before transplantation was significantly higher if the relative score after two cycles was < or = 0.5, or, if after four cycles, the relative score was < or = 0.24. Patients with a relative score of < or = 0.5 after two cycles or a score of < or = 0.24 after four cycles had an improved EFS rate (P =.053 and.045, respectively).


Semiquantitative MIBG score early in therapy provides valuable prognostic information for overall response and EFS, which may be useful in tailoring treatment.

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