Nasopharyngeal carcinoma MRI

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Homa Najafi, M.D.[2]Faizan Sheraz, M.D. [3]


Head and neck MRI may be helpful in the diagnosis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. It is especially used for the assessment of tumor invasion in the skull base, parapharyngeal spcae, paranasal sinus, middle ear and cervical lymph nodes.


MRI may be helpful in the diagnosis of Nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

  • Findings on MRI scan suggestive of nasopharyngeal carcinoma include:[1]
MRI Component Features
T1 C+ (Gd)
  • Fat saturation in post contrast sequences
  • Notable heterogeneous enhancement is typical
  • Perineural extension should be sought
  • Isointense to hyperintense to muscle signal
  • Fat saturation
  • Fluid in the middle ear can be helpful


  1. Hermans, R (2012). Head and neck cancer imaging. Berlin New York: Springer. ISBN 9783642178689.
  2. Glastonbury, Christine M. (2007). "Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma". Topics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 18 (4): 225–235. doi:10.1097/RMR.0b013e3181572b3a. ISSN 0899-3459.
  3. Dubrulle, F.; Souillard, R.; Hermans, R. (2007). "Extension patterns of nasopharyngeal carcinoma". European Radiology. 17 (10): 2622–2630. doi:10.1007/s00330-007-0616-z. ISSN 0938-7994.
  4. Chin, Shy-Chyi; Fatterpekar, Girish; Chen, Cheng-Yu; Som, Peter M. (2003). "MR Imaging of Diverse Manifestations of Nasopharyngeal Carcinomas". American Journal of Roentgenology. 180 (6): 1715–1722. doi:10.2214/ajr.180.6.1801715. ISSN 0361-803X.
  5. Alfred L. Weber, Sharif al-Arayedh & Asma Rashid (2003). "Nasopharynx: clinical, pathologic, and radiologic assessment". Neuroimaging clinics of North America. 13 (3): 465–483. PMID 14631685. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  6. Julian Goh & Keith Lim (2009). "Imaging of nasopharyngeal carcinoma". Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. 38 (9): 809–816. PMID 19816641. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  7. Ng, Shu-Hang; Chan, Sheng-Chieh; Yen, Tzu-Chen; Chang, Joseph Tung-Chieh; Liao, Chun-Ta; Ko, Sheung-Fat; Wang, Hung-Ming; Wai, Yau-Yau; Wang, Jiun-Jie; Chen, Min-Chi (2009). "Pretreatment evaluation of distant-site status in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma: accuracy of whole-body MRI at 3-Tesla and FDG-PET-CT". European Radiology. 19 (12): 2965–2976. doi:10.1007/s00330-009-1504-5. ISSN 0938-7994.
  8. Fong, Devin; Bhatia, Kunwar S.S.; Yeung, David; King, Ann D. (2010). "Diagnostic accuracy of diffusion-weighted MR imaging for nasopharyngeal carcinoma, head and neck lymphoma and squamous cell carcinoma at the primary site". Oral Oncology. 46 (8): 603–606. doi:10.1016/j.oraloncology.2010.05.004. ISSN 1368-8375.
  9. Ann D. King, David K. W. Yeung, Anil T. Ahuja, S. F. Leung, Gary M. K. Tse & Andrew C. van Hasselt (2004). "In vivo proton MR spectroscopy of primary and nodal nasopharyngeal carcinoma". AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology. 25 (3): 484–490. PMID 15037477. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)

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