Bladder cancer MRI

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Farima Kahe M.D. [2]


Abdominal and pelvic MRI may be helpful in the diagnosis of bladder cancer. MRI may be superior to CT scan to detect superficial and multiple tumors, extravesical tumor extension, and surrounding organ invasion.


  • Abdominal and pelvic MRI may be helpful in the diagnosis of bladder cancer. Findings on MRI suggestive of bladder cancer include:[1][2][3][4][5][6]
    • T1: isointense compared to muscle
    • T2: slightly hyperintense compared to muscle
    • T1 weighted image with gadolinium contrast: demonstrates enhancement
    • Detect superficial and multiple tumors
    • Extravesical tumor extension
    • Surrounding organ invasion
MRI scan showing Bladder cancer invading the ureteral ostium source:Case courtesy of Dr Roberto Schubert,, rID: 14168


  1. Barentsz JO, Jager GJ, Witjes JA, Ruijs JH (1996). "Primary staging of urinary bladder carcinoma: the role of MRI and a comparison with CT". Eur Radiol. 6 (2): 129–33. PMID 8797968.
  2. Rajesh A, Sokhi HK, Fung R, Mulcahy KA, Bankart MJ (December 2011). "Bladder cancer: evaluation of staging accuracy using dynamic MRI". Clin Radiol. 66 (12): 1140–5. doi:10.1016/j.crad.2011.05.019. PMID 21924408.
  3. Ghafoori M, Shakiba M, Ghiasi A, Asvadi N, Hosseini K, Alavi M (2013). "Value of MRI in local staging of bladder cancer". Urol J. 10 (2): 866–72. PMID 23801469.
  4. Green DA, Durand M, Gumpeni N, Rink M, Cha EK, Karakiewicz PI, Scherr DS, Shariat SF (November 2012). "Role of magnetic resonance imaging in bladder cancer: current status and emerging techniques". BJU Int. 110 (10): 1463–70. doi:10.1111/j.1464-410X.2012.11129.x. PMID 22500557.
  5. Tanimoto A, Yuasa Y, Imai Y, Izutsu M, Hiramatsu K, Tachibana M, Tazaki H (December 1992). "Bladder tumor staging: comparison of conventional and gadolinium-enhanced dynamic MR imaging and CT". Radiology. 185 (3): 741–7. doi:10.1148/radiology.185.3.1438756. PMID 1438756.
  6. Tekes A, Kamel I, Imam K, Szarf G, Schoenberg M, Nasir K, Thompson R, Bluemke D (January 2005). "Dynamic MRI of bladder cancer: evaluation of staging accuracy". AJR Am J Roentgenol. 184 (1): 121–7. doi:10.2214/ajr.184.1.01840121. PMID 15615961.