Whole-body MR imaging for detection of bone metastases in children and young adults: comparison with skeletal scintigraphy and FDG PET.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare the diagnostic accuracy of whole-body MR imaging, skeletal scintigraphy, and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) for the detection of bone metastases in children. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Thirty-nine children and young adults who were 2--19 years old and who had Ewing's sarcoma, osteosarcoma, lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, melanoma, and Langerhans' cell histiocytosis underwent whole-body spin-echo MR imaging, skeletal scintigraphy, and FDG PET for the initial staging of bone marrow metastases. The number and location of bone and bone marrow lesions diagnosed with each imaging modality were correlated with biopsy and clinical follow-up as the standard of reference. RESULTS: Twenty-one patients exhibited 51 bone metastases. Sensitivities for the detection of bone metastases were 90% for FDG PET, 82% for whole-body MR imaging, and 71% for skeletal scintigraphy; these data were significantly different (p< 0.05). False-negative lesions were different for the three imaging modalities, mainly depending on lesion location. Most false-positive lesions were diagnosed using FDG PET. CONCLUSION: Whole-body MR imaging has a higher sensitivity than skeletal scintigraphy for the detection of bone marrow metastases but a lower sensitivity than FDG PET.