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J Nucl Med. 1997 Sep;38(9):1352-7.

Specificity of radioiodinated MIBG for neural crest tumors in childhood.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0028, USA.


The high sensitivity of metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintigraphy for sympathomedullary tumors such as neuroblastoma and pheochromocytoma is well documented. The specificity of MIBG scintigraphy for these tumors is also high but has been incompletely characterized for other neural crest tumors and non-neural crest tumors of childhood.


The medical records and MIBG scans of all children who had undergone MIBG scintigraphy for known or suspected neuroblastoma or pheochromocytoma were retrospectively reviewed at five major referral centers. Those patients found to have pathologies other than neuroblastoma or pheochromocytoma form the basis of this study.


One hundred children with a total of 110 lesions met the inclusion criteria. All had negative MIBG scans except 1 of 2 children with infantile myofibromatosis, 1 of 2 with neuroendocrine carcinomas, 1 of 2 with pancreaticoblastomas and 1 of 10 with primitive neuroectodermal tumors.


MIBG scintigraphy is highly specific for neuroblastoma and pheochromocytoma. Only 4% (4/100) of nonsympathomedullary tumors (non-pheochromocytoma and non-neuroblastoma) in childhood showed MIBG uptake, of which only 2% (2/100) were of non-neural crest origin.

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