Parathyroid adenoma localization with 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT/CT: a meta-analysis

Nucl Med Commun. 2015 Apr;36(4):363-75. doi: 10.1097/MNM.0000000000000262.


Purpose: The aim of the study was to determine the diagnostic utility of parathyroid scintigraphy with technetium-99m (99mTc)-sestamibi single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) for localization of parathyroid adenoma.

Materials and methods: We performed a systematic search of medical databases PubMed and Medline/OVID for literature on 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT/CT parathyroid scintigraphy, using the search terms hyperparathyroidism, parathyroid adenoma/hyperplasia, SPECT/CT, and SPECT-CT. Citations for 981 articles and 128 abstracts of full articles were reviewed by two coauthors for relevance. Twenty-four peer-reviewed studies on SPECT/CT parathyroid scintigraphy qualified for inclusion. The Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies-2 tool was used to assess study quality. Meta-analytical techniques were used to obtain pooled estimates of the parathyroid adenoma localization rate using a random-effects model.

Results: A total of 24 studies published between January 2003 and March 2014 with 1276 patients (334 men, 762 women, and 180 of unspecified sex) met the inclusion criteria. Data on the test performance of dual-phase 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT/CT showed an estimated pooled sensitivity (per-patient analysis) of 0.86 [confidence interval (CI) 0.81-0.90]. Sensitivity of SPECT/CT was superior to that of SPECT (0.74; CI 0.66-0.82) and planar (0.70; CI 0.61-0.80) techniques. Heterogeneity was present in the reported literature (I2=80.3%). The rate of ectopic parathyroid adenomas ranged between 4 and 20% and SPECT/CT was superior to SPECT and planar imaging for localization of ectopic sites.

Conclusion: Utilization of SPECT/CT fusion imaging for 99mTc-sestamibi parathyroid scintigraphy improves the test performance compared with planar and SPECT imaging; it assists preoperative planning for a minimally invasive surgical approach for the neck and is of value in subgroups with ectopic glands or coexisting nodular thyroid disease.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Multimodal Imaging
  • Parathyroid Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi