What is the role of MRI in transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) imaging?

Updated: Mar 18, 2019
  • Author: Ali Nawaz Khan, MBBS, FRCS, FRCP, FRCR; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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The advantages of MRI are its high intrinsic soft tissue contrast, its direct multiplanar capability, and the availability of nontoxic renally excreted contrast agents. MRI appears to be at least as useful as CT in the evaluation of perivesical fat involvement, and it may be superior to CT in the detection of invasion of the adjacent organs. However, MRI cannot depict the superficial invasion of the upper urinary tract by TCC well. [7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14]

Gadolinium-based contrast agents have been linked to the development of nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) or nephrogenic fibrosing dermopathy (NFD). The disease has occurred in patients with moderate to end-stage renal disease after being given a gadolinium-based contrast agent to enhance MRI or MRA scans. NSF/NFD is a debilitating and sometimes fatal disease. Characteristics include red or dark patches on the skin; burning, itching, swelling, hardening, and tightening of the skin; yellow spots on the whites of the eyes; joint stiffness with troublemoving or straightening the arms, hands, legs, or feet; pain deep in the hip bones or ribs; and muscle weakness.

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