MRI Scan a Viable Alternative to Lumbar Puncture for MS Diagnosis?

MRI a Viable Alternative to Lumbar Puncture for MS Diagnosis?

Megan Brooks

October 28, 2022

To diagnose multiple sclerosis (MS), the central vein sign (CVS) on brain MRI appears to work as well as oligoclonal bands (OCBs) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and combining the two biomarkers yields the highest predictive value for MS, a new study indicates.

The presence of OCBs is “very specific for MS and is obtained by lumbar puncture, which is invasive and can be unpleasant, so it’s not an ideal test,” study investigator Daniel Ontaneda, MD, PhD, with the Mellen Center for MS Treatment and Research at the Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio, told Medscape Medical News.

In a pilot study, CVS was “highly correlated with the presence of OCBs and in many cases could serve to prove that a person has MS without the need for a spinal tap,” Ontaneda said.

The study was presented at the 38th Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) 2022.

Reducing the Need for Lumbar Puncture

OCBs in CSF are commonly used as a diagnostic biomarker for MS and can serve to meet the requirement for dissemination in time in the 2017 McDonald criteria.