The diagnostic value of 18F-FDG PET and MRI in paediatric histiocytosis

  • Wolfgang Peter MuellerEmail author
  • Henriette Ingrid Melzer
  • Irene Schmid
  • Eva Coppenrath
  • Peter Bartenstein
  • Thomas Pfluger
Original Article



To analyse the diagnostic value of 18F-FDG PET and MRI for the evaluation of active lesions in paediatric Langerhans cell histiocytosis.


We compared 21 18F-FDG PET scans with 21 MRI scans (mean time interval 17 days) in 15 patients (11 male, 4 female, age range 4 months to 19 years) with biopsy-proven histiocytosis. Primary criteria for the lesion-based analysis were signs of vital histiocyte infiltrates (bone marrow oedema and contrast enhancement for MRI; SUV greater than the mean SUV of the right liver lobe for PET). PET and MR images were analysed separately and side-by-side. The results were validated by biopsy or follow-up scans after more than 6 months.


Of 53 lesions evaluated, 13 were confirmed by histology and 40 on follow-up investigations. The sensitivity and specificity of PET were 67 % and 76 % and of MRI were 81 % and 47 %, respectively. MRI showed seven false-positive bone lesions after successful chemotherapy. PET showed five false-negative small bone lesions, one false-negative lesion of the skull and three false-negative findings for intracerebral involvement. PET showed one false-positive lesion in the lymphoid tissue of the head and neck region and two false-positive bone lesions after treatment. Combined PET/MR analysis decreased the number of false-negative findings on primary staging, whereas no advantage over PET alone was seen in terms of false-positive or false-negative results on follow-up.


Our retrospective analysis suggests a pivotal role of 18F-FDG PET in lesion follow-up due to a lower number of false-positive findings after chemotherapy. MRI showed a higher sensitivity and is indispensable for primary staging, evaluation of brain involvement and biopsy planning. Combined MRI/PET analysis improved sensitivity by decreasing the false-negative rate during primary staging indicating a future role of simultaneous whole-body PET/MRI for primary investigation of paediatric histiocytosis.


PET/MRI MR/PET Histiocytosis Paediatric oncology 


Conflicts of interest


Financial support



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Peter Mueller
    • 1
    Email author
  • Henriette Ingrid Melzer
    • 1
  • Irene Schmid
    • 2
  • Eva Coppenrath
    • 3
  • Peter Bartenstein
    • 1
  • Thomas Pfluger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Nuclear MedicineLudwig-Maximilians-University of MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Department of Paediatric OncologyLudwig-Maximilians-University of MunichMunichGermany
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyLudwig-Maximilians-University of MunichMunichGermany

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