The role of single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography for precise localization of metastases in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer

Hui Wang, Hong-Liang Fu, Jia-Ning Li, Ren-Jian Zou, Zhen-Hui Gu, Jing-Chuan Wu
Clinical Imaging 2009, 33 (1): 49-54

PURPOSE: It is very important in the management of patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) to precisely localize the foci of I-131 uptake, but it is difficult because of a lack of anatomic landmarks. The purpose of this study was to investigate the added value of I-131 single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)/computed tomography (CT) fusion imaging using a hybrid system in patients with DTC.

METHODS: Ninety-four patients with DTC underwent I-131 SPECT/CT using a hybrid tomography consisting of a dual-head variable-angle gamma camera and a low-dose X-ray tube. Results were compared with I-131 whole-body scan (WBS). SPECT/CT was performed 5-7 days after administration of a therapeutic dose of I-131. Fusion images were constructed by combining the digital CT and SPECT images on a computer workstation.

RESULTS: Compared with I-131 WBS, SPECT/CT imaging had improved the precise localization in 21% (20/94) of patients. In addition, SPECT/CT provided additional clinical data in 12 of the patients examined (12/94) and also caused physicians to reconsider the (131)I therapeutic approach in 22 patients.

CONCLUSION: The results of the current study indicate that the addition of I-131 SPECT/CT to WBS can improve the localization of metastases in patients with DTC. It may also detect metastases missed by WBS and adjust the therapy plan.

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