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01.12.2017 | Preliminary research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

EJNMMI Research 1/2017

Visual evaluation and differentiation of renal oncocytomas from renal cell carcinomas by means of 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT/CT

EJNMMI Research > Ausgabe 1/2017
Antonios Tzortzakakis, Ove Gustafsson, Mattias Karlsson, Linnea Ekström-Ehn, Rammin Ghaffarpour, Rimma Axelsson



Despite the progress in the quality of multiphasic CT and MRI scans, it is still difficult to fully characterize a solid kidney lesion. Approximately 10% of all solid renal tumours turn out to be oncocytomas. In actual clinical practice, this is verified only following unnecessary surgery or a renal biopsy/ablation. The objective of our pilot study examines whether 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT/CT can play a crucial role in the characterization of solid renal neoplasms and the differentiation of oncocytomas from renal cell carcinomas.
The study included 27 patients identified with 31 solid renal lesions. All patients were discussed in a multidisciplinary conference, and a decision for surgery or biopsy was taken. Prior to invasive procedures, patients underwent a SPECT/CT with 99mTc-sestamibi. Visual evaluation was performed, and any focal 99mTc-sestamibi uptake detected on SPECT in the localisation of tumour was considered as positive.


Eleven out of 12 oncocytomas (91.6%) displayed positive uptake of 99mTc-sestamibi. Three hybrid tumours (mixed-type oncocytoma and chromophobe renal cancer) were positive on SPECT/CT. One papillary renal cell carcinoma had a slight uptake of 99mTc-sestamibi. The remaining 11 renal cell carcinomas were sestamibi negative.


Differentiation of benign renal oncocytomas from renal cell carcinomas seems very promising on 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT/CT examination. Additional supplement to visual evaluation, i.e. quantitative tools, should be sought for an accurate estimate of biological behaviour and hence a secure diagnosis.
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