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Comparison of whole-body MRI with automatic moving table technique and bone scintigraphy for screening for bone metastases in patients with breast cancer

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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.

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Correspondence to K. Engelhard.

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Engelhard, K., Hollenbach, H.P., Wohlfart, K. et al. Comparison of whole-body MRI with automatic moving table technique and bone scintigraphy for screening for bone metastases in patients with breast cancer. Eur Radiol 14, 99–105 (2004).

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