Detection of bone metastases in thyroid cancer patients: Bone scintigraphy or F-18-DG PET?

Phan, H. T. T., Jager, P. L., Plukker, J. T. M., Wolffenbuttel, B. H. R., Dierckx, R. A. & Links, T. P., Aug-2007, In : Nuclear Medicine Communications. 28, 8, p. 597-602 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Background Similar to the situation in other tumour types, it is currently unclear whether fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) is adequate in the detection of bone metastases of thyroid cancer. The purpose of this retrospective study was to evaluate the performance of bone scans in comparison with FDG PET in the detection of bone metastases in patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC).

Materials and methods Twenty-four patients had undergone both FDG PET and bone scans within 6 months because of suspected bone metastases. All scans were re-evaluated using all available additional imaging and clinical data for verification. Scan findings were scored as positive, negative or doubtful.

Results Bone metastases were present in eight of 24 (33%) patients. Only bone scintigraphy but not FDG PET suggested the presence of bone metastases in three patients, all confirmed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/X-ray. Five patients were identified with bone metastases on both bone scan and FDG PET, which was confirmed by computed tomography (CT)/MRI/X-ray in four. Five patients had doubtful findings on bone scans whereas FDG PET scans were negative. MRI showed degenerative disorders in two of five and was normal in two. Eleven patients had both a negative bone scan and FDG PET scan.

Conclusion In three of eight (38%) thyroid cancer patients bone metastases were only identified on bone scans. Therefore, bone scans are still valuable in detecting bone metastases in patients with DTC and can not be replaced by FDG PET. Nucl Med Commun 28:597-602 (c) 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-602
Number of pages6
JournalNuclear Medicine Communications
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2007


  • differentiated thyroid cancer, bone metastases, bone scintigraphy, [F-18]fluorodeoxyglucose, positron emission tomography, POSITRON-EMISSION-TOMOGRAPHY, BREAST-CANCER, FDG-PET, DIAGNOSIS, SCAN

ID: 4590065