The therapeutic approach to recurrent well-differentiated thyroid cancer is based on the detection of active disease. While a measured increase of thyroglobulin level in an ablated patient is highly suggestive of recurrence, localization of the tumour is necessary for adequate treatment planning. A whole body scan with I yields false negative results in the presence of non-iodophyllic foci of disease. Hypermetabolic foci of differentiated thyroid carcinoma can be detected by gamma PET with 2-[F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (F-FDG). This study retrospectively evaluated the therapeutic impact of the F-FDG scan in patients with suspected recurrent thyroid carcinoma in whom the iodine scan was negative. Twenty patients (five male, 15 female) aged 19-77 years, were suspected of having recurrent thyroid carcinoma due to elevated thyroglobulin levels and/or palpable neck findings. All whole body iodine scans obtained with diagnostic doses (74-148 MBq (2-4 mCi) of I), were reported normal, i.e., no iodophyllic foci were detected. Whole body gamma positron emission tomography (PET) imaging was performed in fasting patients following i.v. administration of 370 MBq (10 mCi) F-FDG, with a strict 1 h immobilization post-injection. Gamma PET results were validated either by anatomical imaging, repeat iodine scanning after administration of a therapeutic dose (at least 3700 MBq (100 mCi) of I) or surgery. The impact of the FDG scan on patient management was evaluated by the referring physicians. Positive gamma PET results confirmed the presence of active disease in 14/15 patients. One false positive finding (fibrosis) and one false negative (carcinoid) were reported. Localization of hypermetabolic foci supported treatment decisions in 10 patients, and significantly altered therapeutic management in six others. Treatment was withheld in four patients with negative findings. The clinical impact of the scan in this patient group is similar to that reported in the literature and justifies its future implementation.
- Gamma PET
- Thyroid carcinoma