Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging for detection of skeletal metastases in children and young people with primary solid tumors - systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Many solid neoplasms have a propensity for osteomedullary metastases of which detection is important for staging and subsequent treatment. Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (WB-MRI) has been shown to accurately detect osteomedullary metastases in adults, but these findings cannot be unconditionally extrapolated to staging of children with malignant solid tumors. Objective: To conduct a literature review on the sensitivity of WB-MRI for detecting skeletal metastases in children with solid tumors. Materials and methods: Searches in MEDLINE and EMBASE databases up to 15 May 2017 were performed to identify studies on the diagnostic value of WB-MRI. Inclusion criteria were children and adolescents (age <21 years) with a primary solid tumor who were evaluated for skeletal metastases by WB-MRI and compared to any type of reference standard. The number of included patients had to be at least five and data on true positives, true negatives, false-positives and false-negatives had to be extractable. Results: Five studies including 132 patients (96 patients with solid tumors) were eligible. Patient groups and used reference tests were heterogeneous, producing unclear or high risk of bias. Sensitivity of WB-MRI ranged between 82% and 100%. The positive predictive value of WB-MRI was variable among the studies and influenced by the used reference standard. Conclusion: Although WB-MRI may seem a promising radiation-free technique for the detection of skeletal metastases in children with solid tumors, published studies are small and too heterogeneous to provide conclusive evidence that WB-MRI can be an alternative to currently used imaging techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-252
JournalPediatric Radiology
Issue number2
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Cite this