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Eur Radiol. 2004 Dec;14(12):2297-302. Epub 2004 Jul 9.

Comparison of whole-body STIR-MRI and 99mTc-methylene-diphosphonate scintigraphy in children with suspected multifocal bone lesions.

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  • 1Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University of Jena, Jena, Germany.


The study was performed to compare whole-body short time inversion recovery (STIR) MR imaging and (99m)Tc-methylene diphosphonate planar scintigraphy in the examination of children with suspected multifocal skeletal malignant lesions. Sixteen patients with known or suspected malignant skeletal disease underwent both whole-body STIR MR imaging and bone scintigraphy. The lesions were described and numbered according to scintigraphic evaluation criteria. Thus, 16 regions were analyzed in each patient for the comparison between the two modalities. Histology was proven in the primary malignant regions. Follow-up MRIs were registered. Scintigraphy and MRI follow-up were evaluated as gold standard. A total of 139 different lesions was observed by both modalities. Baseline whole-body MRI revealed 119 bone lesions in 256 possible sites (46.5%); scintigraphy revealed only 58 lesions (22.6%). Congruence was observed in only four patients (25%). According to the location of the lesion, correlation was observed in 39/139 lesions (28%). In all, 57.5% of the lesions were detected only by MRI and 14.5% of the lesions were detected only by scintigraphy. Whole-body MRI was more sensitive (P<0.001). Of all lesions numbered which could be separated in the initial MRI, whole-body MRI detected 178 lesions in the patients. The results suggest that whole-body MRI using a STIR sequence is an effective radiation free method for examination of children with suspected multifocal bone lesions. MRI showed more lesions than conventional (99m)Tc-methylene diphosphonate scintigraphy. Therefore, whole-body MRI may be feasible as a screening modality for metastatic and skip lesions in osteosarcoma, PNET, Ewing sarcoma and Langerhans cell histiocytosis in children.

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