The Role of Imaging in the Treatment of Patients With Multiple Myeloma in 2016

Evangelos Terpos, Meletios A Dimopoulos, Lia A Moulopoulos
American Society of Clinical Oncology Educational Book 2016, 35: e407-17
The novel criteria for the diagnosis of symptomatic multiple myeloma have revealed the value of modern imaging for the management of patients with myeloma. Whole-body low-dose CT (LDCT) has increased sensitivity over conventional radiography for the detection of osteolytic lesions, and several myeloma organizations and institutions have suggested that whole-body LDCT should replace conventional radiography for the work-up of patients with myeloma. MRI is the best imaging method for the depiction of marrow infiltration by myeloma cells. Whole-body MRI (or at least MRI of the spine and pelvis if whole-body MRI is not available) should be performed for all patients with smoldering multiple myeloma with no lytic lesions to look for occult disease, which may justify treatment. In addition, MRI accurately illustrates the presence of plasmacytomas, spinal cord, and/or nerve compression for surgical intervention or radiation therapy; it is also recommended for the work-up of solitary bone plasmacytoma, and it may distinguish malignant from benign fractures (which is very important in cases of patients in biochemical remission with no other signs of progression). Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) seems to improve MRI diagnosis in patients with myeloma. PET/CT is a functional imaging technique, more sensitive than conventional radiography for the detection of lytic lesions, which probably allows better definition of complete response and minimal residual disease compared with all other imaging methods. PET/CT has shown the best results in the follow-up of patients with myeloma and has an independent prognostic value both at diagnosis and following treatment. PET/CT can also be used for the work-up of solitary bone plasmacytoma and nonsecretory myeloma.

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