123Iodine-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy versus whole-body magnetic resonance imaging with diffusion-weighted imaging in children with high-risk neuroblastoma — pilot study



The prognostic value of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology European Neuroblastoma Research Network (SIOPEN) skeletal score using 123iodine-metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) has been confirmed for people with high-risk neuroblastoma. Whole-body MRI with diffusion-weighted imaging is used increasingly.


To compare the original SIOPEN score and its adaption by diffusion-weighted imaging in high-risk stage 4 neuroblastoma and to evaluate any consequences of score differences on overall survival.

Materials and methods

This retrospective observational study included pediatric patients who underwent MIBG scintigraphy and whole-body MRI, including diffusion-weighted imaging, between 2010 and 2015. Semi-quantitative skeletal scores for each exam were calculated independently. A difference of two or more points was defined as clinically relevant and counted as M+ (more in diffusion-weighted imaging) or S+ (more in MIBG). In cases of a negative result in one of the studies, residual disease of 1 point was also rated as relevant. We tested correlation and differences on an exam basis and also grouped by different therapeutic conditions. Overall survival was used to evaluate prognostic relevance.


Seventeen children with 25 paired examinations were evaluated. Median MIBG scintigraphy score was 0 (interquartile range [IQR] 0–4, range 0–25) vs. a median whole-body MRI score of 1 (IQR 0–5.5, range 0–35) (P=0.018). A relevant difference between whole-body MRI and MIBG scintigraphy was noted in 14 of the 25 paired examinations (M+: n=9; S+: n=5). After treatment, the median survival of cases with M+ was 14 months (IQR 4–59, range 1–74 months), while S+ cases showed a median survival of 49 months (IQR 36–52, range 36–52 months) (P=0.413).


The SIOPEN scoring system is feasible for whole-body MRI but might result in slightly higher scores, probably because of MRI’s superior spatial resolution. Further studies are necessary to validate any impact on prognosis.

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Correspondence to Sebastian Gassenmaier.

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Gassenmaier, S., Bares, R., Barreuther, M. et al. 123Iodine-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy versus whole-body magnetic resonance imaging with diffusion-weighted imaging in children with high-risk neuroblastoma — pilot study. Pediatr Radiol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00247-020-04960-2

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  • 123Iodine-metaiodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy
  • Children
  • Diffusion-weighted imaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Neuroblastoma
  • Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging