Background: In systemic amyloidosis the distribution and progression of disease have been difficult to monitor, because they can be demonstrated only by biopsy. Serum amyloid P component (SAP) is a normal circulating plasma protein that is deposited on amyloid fibrils because of its specific binding affinity for them. We investigated whether labeled SAP could be used to locate amyloid deposits.
Methods: Purified human SAP labeled with iodine-123 was given intravenously to 50 patients with biopsy-proved systemic amyloidosis--25 with the AL (primary) type and 25 with the AA (secondary) type--and to 26 control patients with disease and 10 healthy subjects. Whole-body images and regional views were obtained after 24 hours and read in a blinded fashion.
Results: In the patients with amyloidosis the 123I-SAP was localized rapidly and specifically in amyloid deposits. The scintigraphic images obtained were characteristic and appeared to identify the extent of amyloid deposition in all 50 patients. There was no uptake of the 123I-SAP by the control patients and the healthy subjects. In all patients with AA amyloidosis the spleen was affected, whereas the scans showed uptake in the heart, skin, carpal region, and bone marrow only in patients with the AL type. Positive images were seen in six patients in whom biopsies had been negative or unsuccessful; in all six, amyloid was subsequently found on biopsy or at autopsy. Progressive amyloid deposition was observed in 9 of 11 patients studied serially.
Conclusions: Scintigraphy after the injection of 123I-SAP can be used for diagnosing, locating, and monitoring the extent of systemic amyloidosis.