A trial looking at a scan using iodine 124 to see areas of neuroblastoma

Cancer type:

Children's cancers




Phase 1/2

This trial compared iodine 124 PET-CT scans with the iodine 123 scans which were routinely used at the time. Researchers used the scans to look at whether neuroblastoma had come back after treatment or spread to another part of the body

The trial was supported by Cancer Research UK. It was open for people to join between 2014 and 2019. The team reported the results in 2021.

More about this trial

An MIBG scan is a type of scan used to diagnose neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma cells absorb a substance called MIBG. Doctors attach a very small amount of radioactive iodine to the MIBG, and then inject this into the bloodstream. This is called a tracer. Its full name is iodine 123 MIBG. 

The neuroblastoma cells pick up the tracer. This shows up on a type of scan called a planar scintigraphy scan (similar to a PET scan). This means doctors can see where the neuroblastoma cells are.

When this trial was done, doctors used iodine 123 MIBG. In this trial they looked at a tracer called iodine 124 MIBG. It is very similar, but can be seen on a PET-CT scan.

The main aim of this trial was to find out how good iodine 124 PET-CT scans are at showing where neuroblastoma has spread in the body. The researchers compared the 124 PET-CT scans with the routine iodine 123 scans.

Summary of results

The results showed that the iodine 124 PET-CT scan was better than the routine iodine 123 scan at showing areas of neuroblastoma.

Trial design
This trial was for people with neuroblastoma that has spread. Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer. It mostly affects children, and often those under 5 years old.

The plan was for everyone to have both the routine iodine 123 scan, and an iodine 124 PET-CT can. This was so the research team could compare the areas of neuroblastoma to see which scan was better.

The doctors didn’t know for sure how well the iodine 124 PET-CT scan would work. So they used the results from the routine iodine 123 scans to decide which treatment people should have.

A total of 36 people joined this trial. They were between 1 and 41 years old. Of those 36:

  • 32 people had an iodine 123 scan as usual
  • 9 people also had an iodine 124 PET-CT scan, within 2 weeks of the first scan

The research team compared the size and position of areas of neuroblastoma they could see on the 2 different scans. 

They found that the iodine 124 PET-CT showed more areas of neuroblastoma than the routine 123 iodine scan.

Side effects
No one taking part had any side effects from the radioactive iodine or the scan.

The research team concluded that using iodine 124 and a PET-CT scan was more accurate than using routine 123 iodine scans. They suggest more trials are done to find out more about how useful these scans are.

Where this information comes from    
We have based this summary on information from the research team. As far as we are aware, the information they sent us has not been reviewed independently (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) or published in a medical journal yet. The figures we quote above were provided by the research team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Sue Chua

Supported by

Cancer Research UK (Centre for Drug Development)
Rising Tide Foundation

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKD/12/002.

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Cara took part in a clinical trial

A picture of Cara

"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”

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