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J Nucl Med. 1998 May;39(5):849-56.

Technetium-99m-sestamibi scintimammography for the detection of breast carcinoma: comparison between planar and SPECT imaging.

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  • 1Department of Nuclear Medicine, Klinikum Innenstadt, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.


The purpose of our study was to compare the results of planar and SPECT scintimammography for the detection of breast carcinoma. In addition, our goal was to determine whether SPECT reconstructed with filtered backprojection (FBP) or with iterative algorithms (ISA) can improve the sensitivity and specificity of planar scintimammography (SMM).


One hundred thirteen patients with suspicious physical examinations and/or mammography underwent planar lateral and anterior breast imaging as well as SPECT imaging after injection of 99mTc-sestamibi. We used a blind evaluation, both separately and combined, for planar SMM, ISA-SPECT and FBP-SPECT. Scintigraphic findings were correlated with the final histopathological diagnoses.


The sensitivity of planar SMM was 80% with a specificity of 83%. All ISA-SPECT studies were of diagnostic quality, while FBP-SPECT was considered nondiagnostic in 14 that were excluded for statistical calculation. Sensitivity of ISA-SPECT and FBP-SPECT were 71% and 69%, respectively. Specificity was 70% for ISA-SPECT and 66% for FBP-SPECT. Combined planar SMM plus ISA-SPECT sensitivity was 85% (81% for planar SMM plus FBP-SPECT) with a specificity of 72%. Three carcinomas indeterminate on planar SMM were correctly identified by combined planar SMM plus ISA-SPECT. ISA-SPECT and FBP-SPECT provided additional information to planar SMM with respect to localization of sestamibi uptake, tumor extent, improved diagnostic certainty and detection of axillary nodes in 40 and 14 patients, respectively.


ISA reconstruction is the preferable approach to SPECT data. Combined with planar SMM, ISA-SPECT can improve sensitivity. SPECT is useful in cases of indeterminate and positive planar SMM.

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