Whole-body magnetic resonance imaging in the detection of skeletal metastases in patients with prostate cancer

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Whole-body MRI is an effective method for evaluating the entire skeletal system in patients with metastatic disease. This study aimed to compare whole-body MRI and radionuclide bone scintigraph in the detection of skeletal metastases in patients with prostate cancer. Patients with prostate cancer at high risk of skeletal metastasis with (i) prostate-specific antigen of ≥50 ng/mL; (ii) composite Gleason score of ≥8 with prostate-specific antigen of >20 ng/mL; or (iii) node-positive disease were enrolled in this prospective study before systemic treatment was initiated. Whole-body MR images and bone scans of 39 patients were analysed. Seven patients had bone metastases on bone scans, while seven patients had skeletal metastases by whole-body MRI, with concordant findings only in four patients. Compared with the ‘gold standard’, derived from clinical and radiological follow-up, the sensitivity for both bone scans and MRI was 70%, and the specificity for both was 100%. Magnetic resonance imaging detected 26 individual lesions compared with 18 lesions on bone scans. Only eight lesions were positive on both. Bone scans detected more rib metastases, while MRI identified more metastatic lesions in the spine. Whole-body MRI and radionuclide bone scintigraphy have similar specificity and sensitivity and may be used as complementary investigations to detect skeletal metastases from prostate cancer.

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