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

      Abstract

      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 131I 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.

      Keywords

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