Technetium-99m-methylene diphosphonate scintimammography to image primary breast cancer

S. Piccolo, S. Lastoria, C. Mainolfi, P. Muto, L. Bazzicalupo, M. Salvatore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Technetium-99m-methylene diphosphonate (MDP) uptake within breast lesions was investigated during routine presurgical bone scintigraphy in a cohort of women at high risk for cancer who were candidates for surgery or excisional biopsy. The aim was twofold: (a) to demonstrate positive 99mTc-MDP uptake in primary breast cancer and (b) to differentiate malignant from benign lesions. Methods: Anterior and oblique lateral views of the breasts were acquired 0-4 min, 10-20 min and 2 hr after intravenous injection of 740 MBq of 99mTc-MDP in 200 women with elevated suspicion or proven diagnosis of breast cancer (Group 1) and in 80 women with other solid tumor types (Group 2). Results: Physical examination and mammography revealed breast abnormalities in all Group 1 subjects. The mammographic findings were definitely positive for carcinoma in 120 patients, highly suspicious in 27 and indeterminate in 53. Breast cancer was later histologically diagnosed in 172 women (86%) and benign disease found in 28 woman (14%). Of these patients, 158 (92%) showed focal uptake of 99mTc-MDP in the images collected 10-20 min after injection. This was found to be the best timing for imaging, with tumor-to-background ratios as high as 4.3 (mean ± s.d. = 3.8 ± 0.4). Two hr after injection, only 61 of the 158 (38%) malignant lesions were clearly detectable. Conclusion: Technetium-99m-MDP is concentrated by primary breast carcinoma 10-20 min after injection, enabling successful external gamma imaging. Scintimammography with 99mTc-MDP is an accurate test that differentiates malignant from benign breast lesions, particularly in patients with indeterminate mammograms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)718-724
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nuclear Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • breast cancer
  • scintimammography
  • technetium-99m-MDP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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