Technetium-99m sestamibi (MIBI), an alternative radiopharmaceutical for myocardial perfusion imaging, has also been proposed for use as an imaging agent for various tumours, including breast cancer, lung cancer, lymphomas, melanomas and brain tumours. After routine radiation therapy, deteriorating clinical status or treatment failure may be due to either radiation-induced changes or recurrent tumour. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging offer imperfect discrimination of tumour viability and radionecrosis. Against this background we undertook a retrospective study of 35 malignant glioma patients in whom clinical deterioration had occurred, in order to clarify the value of 99mTc-MIBI SPET in identifying tumour recurrence. SPET was performed 15 min after intravenous injection of 1110 MBq with a dual-headed gamma camera using a fan-beam collimator. Transverse, coronal and sagittal views were reconstructed. Intense MIBI uptake was found in 31 patients. This uptake was correlated with tumour recurrence as proved by histology and/or rapid, fatal evolution of these cases. The statistical analysis performed on this population of patients with MIBI uptake revealed a group of patients with a long mean survival and a group with a short mean survival. Two subgroups were found within each of these groups, according to the functional index ratio (tumour uptake/pituitary gland uptake ratio). No MIBI uptake was found in four patients who are still alive and can be considered to be disease-free. In those cases showing MIBI uptake, death occurred an average of 6.69 months following brain SPET. According to our results, the specificity and sensitivity of 99mTc-MIBI brain SPET seem to be high. Moreover, this technique is more accurate than computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging for discriminating between tumour recurrence and radionecrosis.