From standard radiography to whole-body MRI: 30 years of progress in multiple myeloma imaging

Frédéric Lecouvet, Bruno Vande Berg, Jacques Malghem, Baudouin Maldague, Augustin Ferrant, Jean-Louis Michauxu

Article ID: 1758
Vol 5, Issue 2, 2022

VIEWS - 351 (Abstract) 151 (PDF)


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematologic cancer characterized by clonal proliferation of plasma cells within the bone marrow. It is the most serious form of plasma cell dyscrasias, whose complications—hypercalcemia, renal failure, anemia, and lytic bone lesions—are severe and justify the therapeutic management. Imaging of bone lesions is a cardinal element in the diagnosis, staging, study of response to therapy, and prognostic evaluation of patients with MM. Historically, the skeletal radiographic workup (SRW), covering the entire axial skeleton, has been used to detect bone lesions. Over time, new imaging techniques that are more powerful than SRW have been evaluated. Low-dose and whole-body computed tomography (CT) supplants SRW for the detection of bone involvement, but is of limited value in assessing therapeutic response. Bone marrow MRI, initially studying the axial pelvic-spinal skeleton and more recently the whole body, is an attractive alternative. Beyond its non-irradiating character, its sensitivity for the detection of marrow damage, its capacity to evaluate the therapeutic response and its prognostic value has been demonstrated. This well-established technique has been incorporated into disease staging systems by many health systems and scientific authorities. Along with positron emission tomography (PET)-18 fluorodeoxyglucose CT, it constitutes the current imaging of choice for MM. This article illustrates the progress of the MRI technique over the past three decades and situates its role in the management of patients with MM.


Myeloma; Bone Marrow; Imaging; MRI; Cancer

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