[Radiological diagnostics of multiple myeloma]

M D'Anastasi, S Grandl, M F Reiser, A Baur-Melnyk
Der Radiologe 2014, 54 (6): 556-63

CLINICAL/METHODICAL ISSUE: Robust and reliable imaging methods are required to estimate the skeletal tumor load in multiple myeloma, as well as for the diagnosis of extraskeletal manifestations. Imaging also plays an essential role in the assessment of fracture risk and of vertebral fractures.

STANDARD RADIOLOGICAL METHODS: The conventional skeletal survey has been the gold standard in the imaging of multiple myeloma for many years.

METHODICAL INNOVATIONS: Other modalities which have been investigated and are in use are whole-body computed tomography (WBCT), 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography computed tomography (FDG PET-CT) and whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (WBMRI). These techniques are able to depict both mineralized bone and the bone marrow with a high sensitivity for myeloma lesions.

PERFORMANCE: Several studies have shown that cross-sectional imaging is superior to the skeletal survey in the detection of myeloma lesions and WBMRI has been shown to be significantly more sensitive than WBCT for the detection of focal myeloma lesions as well as for diffuse infiltration. The FDG PET-CT technique has a sensitivity comparable to WBMRI.

ACHIEVEMENTS: Due to the higher sensitivity in the detection of myeloma lesions WBCT and WBMRI should replace the skeletal survey.

PRACTICAL RECOMMENDATIONS: A WBCT should be performed if there is suspicion of multiple myeloma. If no focal lesions are found WBMRI or at least MRI of the spine and pelvis should be additionally performed if available. If WBMRI has been initially performed and focal lesions are present, an additional WBCT may be performed to assess the extent of bone destruction and fracture risk. In cases of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), solitary and smoldering myeloma, a WBMRI, if available, should be performed in addition to WBCT.

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