Thallium-201 and iodine-131 scintigraphy in differentiated thyroid carcinoma

Mordechai Lorberboym*, Sumathy Murthy, Jeffrey I. Mechanick, Donald Bergman, John C. Morris, Chun K. Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to determine the concordance and discordance between diagnostic 131I and 201Tl whole-body scintigraphy in patients with differentiated carcinoma of the thyroid. Methods: Following thyroidectomy for differentiated thyroid carcinoma, 50 patients underwent whole-body 131I and 201Tl scanning (60 pairs of scans in total). Fifteen pairs of studies were obtained before ablative therapy, 30 pairs after ablative therapy and 15 pairs after 131I therapy for metastatic disease. Serum thyroglobulin levels were concurrently determined by radioimmunoassay. Results: Thirty-six 131I whole-body scans (in 34 patients) showed residual uptake in the neck, but only six (17%) of the corresponding whole-body thallium studies had detectable uptake in the neck. Fourteen 131I scans (in nine patients) identified multiple metastatic lesions, whereas the thallium scans were interpreted as either negative, nonspecific or showing fewer lesions. In four study pairs, the thallium scans showed solitary lesions that were not detected by the corresponding radioiodine scans. In 16 scans, the thallium studies gave false-positive results. Conclusion: Iodine-131 scintigraphy for differentiated thyroid carcinoma is more sensitive and more specific than 201Tl scintigraphy for detection of distant metastases and residual activity in the neck following thyroidectomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1487-1491
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • iodine-131
  • thallium-201
  • thyroglobulin
  • thyroid carcinoma
  • thyroidectomy


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