Whole-body scintigraphy with radioiodine-131. A comprehensive list of false-positives with some examples

Clin Nucl Med. 1995 Oct;20(10):869-75. doi: 10.1097/00003072-199510000-00002.


Whole-body scintigraphy with radioiodine-131 is an important diagnostic test in the management of patients with differentiated thyroid cancer who have undergone surgical treatment. The scan can demonstrate the presence of residual thyroid or functioning metastases in lymph nodes or distant sites. However, there are a number of potential pitfalls in the interpretation of this scan that could lead to a false-positive diagnosis of cancer. The scintiscans are presented for five patients in whom uptake outside of the thyroid was not due to functioning metastases. Some of these abnormalities are physiologic, such as uptake of iodine in the gastrointestinal tract. A comprehensive list of false-positive results are tabulated.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / diagnostic imaging*
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / secondary*
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radionuclide Imaging / methods
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*


  • Iodine Radioisotopes