The value of 99mTc-sestamibi single-photon emission computed tomography-computed tomography in the evaluation and risk stratification of renal masses
Introduction: Differentiation of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) from oncocytoma is a common diagnostic dilemma. A few studies have shown that 99mTc-sestamibi (MIBI) imaging has the potential to characterize indeterminate renal masses. This comparative study evaluated the utility of MIBI single-photon emission computed tomography-computed tomography (SPECT-CT) in the assessment and risk stratification of renal masses.
Methods: A total of 29 patients with 31 renal masses who had cross-sectional imaging and MIBI SPECT-CT were included. Lesions were categorized as either MIBI-positive or -negative on SPECTCT. Individual lesion density ranged from 22–56 Hounsfield units (HU) on the non-contrast CT part of SPECT-CT. Quantitative relative MIBI uptake was calculated by measuring tumor to ipsilateral renal parenchymal uptake. The imaging results were correlated with histopathology.
Results: All oncocytic lesions, including seven oncocytomas and one hybrid oncocytic chromophobe tumor (100%), were positive on MIBI. One chromophobe RCC showed low-grade MIBI uptake. The remaining RCC subtypes, including 15 clear-cell, four papillary, two mixed clear-cell and papillary, and one chromophobe, were MIBI-negative. The quantitative relative tumor uptake showed statistically significant higher uptake in the low-risk/oncocytic lesions compared to RCCs.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that MIBI SPECT-CT is valuable in the characterization of indeterminate renal masses. The combination of MIBI uptake on SPECT and lesion density on non-contrast CT can be used for risk stratification of renal masses. This technique may reduce the need for further imaging (multiphasic CT or magnetic resonance imaging), renal mass biopsy, or surgical resection of low-risk renal masses. Subsequently, more patients could be followed with active surveillance.
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