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Diabetes Metab. 2005 Apr;31(2):125-33.

Comparison between Leukoscan (Sulesomab) and Gallium-67 for the diagnosis of osteomyelitis in the diabetic foot.

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Service de Médecine Nucléaire et Imagerie Fonctionnelle, Hôpital C. Huriez, C.H.R.U. de Lille, Lille, France.



The diagnosis of osteomyelitis in patients with diabetic foot is difficult both clinically and radiologically. An early diagnosis is crucial to optimize therapeutic strategy. Among the diagnostic methods currently used, scintigraphy with ex-vivo labelled white blood cells is the gold standard, but cannot be performed in all centers; therefore 67Gallium citrate (67Ga) imaging in combination with a bone scintigraphy is still widely used.


The results of imaging 24 diabetic patients with 31 suspected osteomyelitic lesions using the antigranulocyte Fab' fragment (Sulesomab or LeukoScan or immunoscintigraphy) were prospectively compared with results from the bone scan coupled with 67Ga. The diagnosis of osteomyelitis was confirmed by either biopsy or follow-up, radiological imaging and clinical outcome.


Sulesomab correctly identified 12 of 18 osteomyelitic lesions while 67Ga was able to detect only 8 of 18. Therefore the sensitivity is 67% for Sulesomab and 44% for 67Ga. Among the 13 non-osteomyelitic lesions imaging with Sulesomab was able to rule out infection in 11 cases and 67Ga in 10 cases. The specificity is therefore 85% for Sulesomab and 77% for 67Ga. Image interpretation for Sulesomab in this group of patients is occasionally suboptimal when imaging is performed at 3 hours post injection. High vascular background in the early images may obscure infection especially in small bones. Practically, scintigraphy with Sulesomab is fast and simple due to ease of labeling, no ex-vivo handling of blood, low radiation and provides rapid diagnosis. The diagnosis of osteomyelitis obtained by the antibody fragment scintigraphy influences the management (guided biopsy) and therapy. In several patients, imaging with Sulesomab was able to rule out osteomyelitis, helping to avoid useless antibiotic therapy and its associated side effects.

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