Tc-99m imaging in thyroidectomized differentiated thyroid cancer patients immediately before I-131 treatment

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical role of technetium-99m pertechnetate (Tc-99m) imaging in thyroidectomized differentiated thyroid cancer patients immediately before radioiodine-131 (I-131) treatment (Tx).

Patient and methods

Eighty-six consecutive post-total-thyroidectomy patients (15 men, 71 women; mean age: 46.8 years) with pathologically diagnosed differentiated thyroid cancer were retrospectively studied. Tc-99m imaging immediately before I-131 Tx using both patient-based and lesion-based measurements were analyzed and were further compared with those of post-Tx I-131 whole-body scans.

Results

For patients with unequivocally positive Tc-99m uptake, the sensitivity was 77% (patient-based) and 59% (site-based). The positive predictive value (PPV) was 100% for both patient-based and site-based measurements. If equivocal Tc-99m uptake was counted as positive, the sensitivity was 83 and 67%, and the PPV was 100 and 99% for patient-based and site-based measurements, respectively.

Conclusion

(a) To increase sensitivity yet maintaining high PPV, equivocal Tc-99m uptake should be considered a positive finding. (b) The nearly 100% PPV of Tc-99m imaging immediately before I-131 Tx for remnant detection suggests that Tc-99m imaging not only serves as an alternative to low-dose I-131 scanning in the low-risk post-thyroidectomy patients but also provides a clue for the subsequent I-131 therapeutic dosage and even for the outcome prediction.

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