Posttherapeutic (131)I SPECT-CT offers high diagnostic accuracy when the findings on conventional planar imaging are inconclusive and allows a tailored patient treatment regimen

Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2009 Jun;36(6):886-93. doi: 10.1007/s00259-008-1044-2. Epub 2009 Jan 24.


Purpose: The purpose of this prospective study was to determine the diagnostic impact and influence on patient treatment of posttherapeutic (131)I SPECT-CT when the findings on planar posttherapeutic whole-body scintigraphy (ptWBS) were inconclusive.

Materials and methods: A total of 53 SPECT-CT scans were performed in 41 patients with thyroid cancer after high-dose (131)I therapy (2.944 to 7.526 GBq (131)I) because of diagnostic uncertainty on ptWBS. Physiological uptake in the salivary glands, gastric mucosa, gut, nasal mucosa, urinary tract and liver were considered to be normal. Any other foci of increased (131)I uptake, except iodine uptake clearly located in the thyroid bed, were considered to be abnormal. The data were evaluated on a lesion and a patient basis.

Results: Regarding neck lesions, SPECT-CT provided a diagnostic impact in 26/90 lesions (28.9%) and confirmed the diagnosis in 64/90 lesions (71.1%). On a patient basis, SPECT-CT changed N status in 12/33 patients (36.4%), provided a diagnostic impact in 21/33 patients (63.6%) and led to a treatment change in 8/33 patients (24.2%). Regarding lesions distant from the neck, SPECT-CT confirmed the diagnosis in 62/71 lesions (87.3%) and had a diagnostic impact in 9/71 lesions (12.7%). On a patient basis, SPECT-CT changed M status in 4/19 patients (21.1%), had a diagnostic impact in 14/19 patients (73.7%) and led to a treatment change in 2/19 patients (10.5%). Considering all patients, SPECT-CT led to a treatment change in 10/41 patients (24.4%).

Conclusion: Integrated SPECT-CT is a useful tool, especially in cases of diagnostic uncertainty and helps to individualize patient management.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck / diagnostic imaging
  • Neck / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Uncertainty
  • Whole Body Imaging


  • Iodine Radioisotopes