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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 380814, 6 pages
Research Article

Incidence and Evaluation of Incidental Abnormal Bone Marrow Signal on Magnetic Resonance Imaging

1Adult Bone Marrow Transplantation Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, P.O. Box 298, New York, NY 10065, USA
2Division of Hematology/Oncology, UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, 4501 X Street, Suite 3016, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA
3Graves Gilbert Clinic, 201 Park Street, Bowling Green, KY 42102, USA
4Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington Street, P.O. Box 245, Boston, MA 02111, USA
5Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, 41 Mall Road, Burlington, MA 01805, USA

Received 14 July 2014; Accepted 24 August 2014; Published 14 October 2014

Academic Editor: Danny Jiongjiong Wang

Copyright © 2014 Gunjan L. Shah et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. The increased use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has resulted in reports of incidental abnormal bone marrow (BM) signal. Our goal was to determine the evaluation of an incidental abnormal BM signal on MRI and the prevalence of a subsequent oncologic diagnosis. Methods. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients over age 18 undergoing MRI between May 2005 and October 2010 at Tufts Medical Center (TMC) with follow-up through November 2013. The electronic medical record was queried to determine imaging site, reason for scan, evaluation following radiology report, and final diagnosis. Results. 49,678 MRIs were done with 110 patients meeting inclusion criteria. Twenty two percent underwent some evaluation, most commonly a complete blood count, serum protein electrophoresis, or bone scan. With median follow-up of 41 months, 6% of patients were diagnosed with malignancies including multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, and metastatic adenocarcinoma. One patient who had not undergone evaluation developed breast cancer 24 months after the MRI. Conclusions. Incidentally noted abnormal or heterogeneous bone marrow signal on MRI was not inconsequential and should prompt further evaluation.