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Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2006 Dec;47(7):865-74.

Evaluation of semi-quantitative scoring system for metaiodobenzylguanidine (mIBG) scans in patients with relapsed neuroblastoma.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of two semi-quantitative scoring systems to assess response to (131)I-metaiodobenzylguanidine (mIBG) therapy in recurrent neuroblastoma.


Diagnostic mIBG scan pairs (n = 57) were collected for patients who underwent (131)I-mIBG therapy for relapsed neuroblastoma. Two scoring systems were designated: Method 1, which divided the body into nine segments to view osteomedullary lesions with an additional tenth segment to assess soft tissue involvement; and Method 2, which divided the body into seven segments without a corresponding compartment for soft tissue involvement. Four nuclear medicine physicians independently assigned extension and intensity scores utilizing both methods, and separately recorded their impression of whether the post-therapy scan had improved, not changed, or worsened. Inter- and intra-observer concordance and correlation with overall response and progression-free survival (PFS) were performed.


Method 1 produced the highest inter-observer concordance and was used to calculate the relative extension scores (post-therapy score divided by pre-therapy score), which correlated significantly with overall response. Patients who achieved complete response (CR) or partial response (PR) (n = 21) had lower relative extension scores, compared to those without response (P < 0.001). The readers' overall impression associated highly (P < 0.001) with the relative extension scores though results were less quantitative. Concordance was higher if initial scores were >5. Relative extension score did not predict PFS.


Semi-quantitative scoring of mIBG scans provides a more reliable method of assessing response in patients with relapsed neuroblastoma than qualitative impression. The reproducibility and high inter-observer concordance makes mIBG score an important component of overall response criteria in patients with recurrent neuroblastoma.

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