(131I)Meta-iodobenzylguanidine scintigraphy and selective venous catheterization after thyroidectomy for medullary thyroid carcinoma

Giovanni Lupoli, Gaetano Lombardi, Nicola Panza, Bernadette Biondi, Giovanni Pacilio, Secondo Lastoria, Marco Salvatore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fifteen patients with medullary carcinoma of the thyroid (MCT), who had persistently elevated levels of serum calcitonin (CT) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) after total thyroidectomy, were studied in order to localize the sites of the recurrent disease. Routine diagnostic examinations, including ultrasonography (US) and computed axial tomography (CAT), were carried out in all the cases. Scintigraphy with radio-iodinated meta-iodobenzylguanidine ((131I)-MIBG) was performed in 13 cases; selective venous catheterization (SVC) to reveal a gradient of CT levels was performed in 12 cases. Ten patients underwent both (l31I)-MIBG scintigraphy and SVC. US and CAT revealed the sites of recurrent tumor in only 4 out of the total 15 patients. SVC in basal conditions showed the presence of small metastases in 2 cases, and after intravenous stimulus with pentagastrin in 4 others. The MIBG scan showed metastatic foci of sporadic MCT in 2 patients, residual medullary thyroid tissue in 4 others, and a pheochromocytoma in a previously undiagnosed patient with Sipple's syndrome. More particularly, MIBG scan and SVC showed the localization of residual or metastatic tumor in 10 cases. In all 10 cases, results of the MIBG scan and SVC were confirmed as true positive by subsequent surgery and histopathologic examination. The conclusions of this study were twofold: (1) in the follow-up of MCT patients with persistently elevated CT and CEA levels, positive US and CAT findings make the MIBG scan useful, if positive, only to determine the nature of the lesion; (2) the association of the two approaches (MIBG scan and SVC) in patients with increased levels of CT and CEA but negative results of routine diagnostic examination can be useful to detect occult rnicrometastases, thus permitting an accurate clinicopathologic staging of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Oncology and Tumor Pharmacotherapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1991


  • Medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • Meta-iodobenzylguanidine
  • Selective venous catheterization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)


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