Current diagnostic criteria for myelofibrosis are largely based on bone marrow (BM) biopsy results. However, these have several limitations, including sampling errors. Explorative studies have indicated that imaging might form an alternative for the evaluation of disease activity, but the heterogeneity in BM abnormalities complicates the choice for the optimal technique. In our prospective diagnostic pilot study, we aimed to visualize all BM abnormalities in myelofibrosis before and during ruxolitinib treatment using both PET/CT and MRI. A random sample of patients was scheduled for examinations at baseline and after 6 and 18 months of treatment, including clinical and laboratory examinations, BM biopsies, MRI (T1-weighted, Dixon, dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE)) and PET/CT ([15O]water, [18F]NaF)). At baseline, all patients showed low BM fat content (indicated by T1-weighted MRI and Dixon), increased BM blood flow (as measured by [15O]water PET/CT), and increased osteoblastic activity (reflected by increased skeletal [18F]NaF uptake). One patient died after the baseline evaluation. In the others, BM fat content increased to various degrees during treatment. Normalization of BM blood flow (as reflected by [15O]water PET/CT and DCE-MRI) occurred in one patient, who also showed the fastest clinical response. Vertebral [18F]NaF uptake remained stable in all patients. In evaluable cases, histopathological parameters were not accurately reflected by imaging results. A case of sampling error was suspected. We conclude that imaging results can provide information on functional processes and disease distribution throughout the BM. Differences in early treatment responses were especially reflected by T1-weighted MRI. Limitations in the gold standard hampered the evaluation of diagnostic accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-474
Number of pages16
JournalTomography (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • MRI
  • PET/CT
  • diagnostic accuracy
  • myelofibrosis
  • ruxolitinib

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