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SPECT/CT Could Prevent Unnecessary Surgery for Kidney Tumors

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 02 May 2017
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Image: A new study found the use of a non-invasive 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT/CT imaging exam together with conventional CT or MRI could prevent thousands of patients undergoing unnecessary surgery for benign kidney tumors (Photo courtesy of iStock).
Image: A new study found the use of a non-invasive 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT/CT imaging exam together with conventional CT or MRI could prevent thousands of patients undergoing unnecessary surgery for benign kidney tumors (Photo courtesy of iStock).
Researchers have shown that a non-invasive imaging exam, 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT/CT, together with a regular CT or MRI scan, can prevent unnecessary surgery for many patients with benign kidney tumors.

The 99mTc-sestamibi Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography/Computed Tomography (SPECT/CT) scan provides additional diagnostic data, when used with conventional CT and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans, and helps clinicians distinguish between malignant and benign kidney tumors.

The results of the study were published in the April 2017 issue of the journal Clinical Nuclear Medicine. The study included 48 patients diagnosed with a kidney tumor using regular CT or MRI. The patients underwent an additional sestamibi SPECT/CT scan at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine before surgery. Radiologists graded the tumors in both the conventional and the sestamibi SPECT/CT images as benign or malignant using a 5-point scale.

The researchers found that adding the sestamibi SPECT/CT scan helped identify seven out of nine benign tumors. The research also suggests that the sestamibi SPECT/CT test is a faster, and less expensive option than surgery. In the US alone, surgeons surgically remove benign kidney tumors in 5,600 patients every year.

One of the developers of the new approach, Steven P. Rowe, MD, PhD, at Johns Hopkins, said, “As radiologists, we have struggled to find noninvasive ways to better classify patients and spare unnecessary surgery, but this has not been easy. Sestamibi SPECT/CT offers an inexpensive and widely available means of better characterizing kidney tumors, and the identical test is now being performed as part of a large trial in Sweden, for which the first results have just recently been published and appear to confirm our conclusions.”


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