Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 418-427

First online:

Nuclear medicine and multimodality imaging of pediatric neuroblastoma

  • Wolfgang Peter MuellerAffiliated withDepartment of Nuclear Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich Email author 
  • , Eva CoppenrathAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich
  • , Thomas PflugerAffiliated withDepartment of Nuclear Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich

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Neuroblastoma is an embryonic tumor of the peripheral sympathetic nervous system and is metastatic or high risk for relapse in nearly 50% of cases. Therefore, exact staging with radiological and nuclear medicine imaging methods is crucial for defining the adequate therapeutic choice. Tumor cells express the norepinephrine transporter, which makes metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG), an analogue of norepinephrine, an ideal tumor specific agent for imaging. MIBG imaging has several disadvantages, such as limited spatial resolution, limited sensitivity in small lesions and the need for two or even more acquisition sessions. Most of these limitations can be overcome with positron emission tomography (PET) using [F-18]2-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose [FDG]. Furthermore, new tracers, such as fluorodopa or somatostatin receptor agonists, have been tested for imaging neuroblastoma recently. However, MIBG scintigraphy and PET alone are not sufficient for operative or biopsy planning. In this regard, a combination with morphological imaging is indispensable. This article will discuss strategies for primary and follow-up diagnosis in neuroblastoma using different nuclear medicine and radiological imaging methods as well as multimodality imaging.


Neuroblastoma Diagnosis Iodobenzylguanidine Scintigraphy Positron emission tomography Multimodality imaging Child