What is the role of MRI in thoracic non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) imaging?

Updated: Mar 05, 2019
  • Author: Ali Nawaz Khan, MBBS, FRCS, FRCP, FRCR; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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Answer

MRI is used as a problem-solving tool in the imaging of thoracic lymphoma and is generally not used as the primary imaging modality, except for few specific indications (see the images below). Weinreb and Naidich used mediastinal MRI particularly when CT scan findings were equivocal. MRI was especially useful in evaluating cardiovascular abnormalities. Virtually the entire spectrum of aortic disease could be assessed accurately, making MRI a reasonable alternative to CT scanning or angiography in most cases. [27, 8]

In staging mediastinal malignancy, MRI is more accurate than CT scanning in assessing thoracic wall invasion. MRI has also been useful in evaluating the response to therapy in lymphoma. MRI is an excellent noninvasive modality in the assessment of superior vena cava syndrome and other venous obstructions, especially when the use of radio-iodinated intravenous contrast medium is contraindicated.

T1-weighted coronal MRIs of the thorax in a 55-yea T1-weighted coronal MRIs of the thorax in a 55-year-old woman with lower dorsal pain. Note the signal-intensity changes in the body of D12; these are associated with a right-sided, large, paravertebral soft-tissue mass involving the psoas muscle. Biopsy confirmed non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
T1-weighted coronal MRIs of the thorax in a 55-yea T1-weighted coronal MRIs of the thorax in a 55-year-old woman with lower dorsal pain (same patient as in the previous image). Note the signal-intensity changes in the body of D12; these are associated with a right-sided, large, paravertebral soft-tissue mass involving the psoas muscle. Biopsy confirmed non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

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