ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was presentation of a whole-body MRI technique with a moving table as a screening tool for bone metastases in patients with breast cancer. Twenty-two patients with breast carcinoma underwent both a planar whole-body bone scintigraphy and whole-body MRI at 1.5 T. The MRI images were acquired with a moving table at six different anatomical positions within a measurement time of 20 min. Coronal images were acquired using a short-tau inversion recovery sequence, accomplished by an axial T2-weighted turbo-spin-echo sequence through the head, and a T1-weighted opposed-phase sagittal 2D fast low-angle shot sequence covering the whole spine. The MRI findings indicating bone metastases were compared with findings from bone scintigraphy. Metastatic lesions were confirmed by follow-up examinations over 1 year. Twelve patients showed bone metastases. Whole-body MRI was superior to bone scintigraphy in predicting lesion origin with a sensitivity of 92% (bone scintigraphy 83%), a specificity of 90% (scintigraphy 80%) and an accuracy of 91% (scintigraphy 82%). The MRI showed additional findings such as metastases of the lung and liver. Whole-body MRI with moving table technique may be an effective method of total body screening for bone in selected patients with breast carcinoma and a high risk of distant metastases, although with the higher costs of MRI bone scintigraphy must still be considered as the first method for screening patients with breast cancer.
European Radiology 02/2004; 14(1):99-105. · 3.22 Impact Factor