Thallium-201 scintigraphy to predict therapeutic outcome of iodine-131 therapy of metastatic thyroid carcinoma

K Nakada, C Katoh, K Kanegae, E Tsukamoto, T Shiga, T Mochizuki, K Itoh, N Tamaki
Journal of Nuclear Medicine: Official Publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine 1998, 39 (5): 807-10

UNLABELLED: We studied the relationship between 201Tl uptake and the efficacy of radioiodine therapy in thyroid carcinoma.

METHODS: Forty-four patients with metastases of well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma received 201Tl scintigraphy within the 2 mo before their initial 131I therapy. Patients were classified into two groups according to the tumor-to-background (T/B) ratio on the late 201Tl scan: high 201Tl uptake (T/B > or = 2.1) and low 201Tl uptake (T/B < 2.1). The therapeutic outcome was judged by the percent reduction in the tumor diameter at 6 mo after the treatment. The treatment was defined as effective when the tumor showed more than 50% reduction in the tumor diameter. The patients in whom radioiodine was ineffective were followed up to determine if the tumor showed further growth.

RESULTS: Of the 44 patients, 25 had high 201Tl uptake and 19 had low 201Tl uptake. The therapy was effective in 15 patients and was ineffective in 29. All the patients in whom radioiodine was effective had low 201Tl uptake. On the other hand, 25 of 29 patients in whom radioiodine was ineffective had high 201Tl uptake. Eight patients, in whom radioiodine was ineffective despite good 131I uptake, had high 201Tl uptake. There were no significant differences in the positive predictive value and the negative predictive value for effective treatment between 201Tl scintigraphy and therapeutic dose 131I scintigraphy. Among the 25 patients in whom radioiodine was ineffective and who had high 201Tl uptake, the tumor diameter increased in 7 (28%). However, none of the tumors with low 201Tl uptake increased in size during the follow-up period.

CONCLUSION: Thallium-201 scintigraphy has a high predictive value for the efficacy of radioiodine therapy in metastatic thyroid carcinoma. Thus, it is helpful in determining the indication for radioiodine therapy and it seems to be an adjunct to tracer dose 131I scintigraphy.

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