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Korean J Radiol. 2017 May-Jun;18(3):543-550. doi: 10.3348/kjr.2017.18.3.543. Epub 2017 Apr 3.

Novel Application of Quantitative Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography/Computed Tomography to Predict Early Response to Methimazole in Graves' Disease.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam 13620, Korea.
Department of Molecular Medicine and Biopharmaceutical Sciences, Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology, Seoul National University, Suwon 16229, Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam 13620, Korea.
Department of Nuclear Medicine, Konkuk University Medical Center, Seoul 05030, Korea.
Institute of Radiation Medicine, Medical Research Center, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea.



Since Graves' disease (GD) is resistant to antithyroid drugs (ATDs), an accurate quantitative thyroid function measurement is required for the prediction of early responses to ATD. Quantitative parameters derived from the novel technology, single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT), were investigated for the prediction of achievement of euthyroidism after methimazole (MMI) treatment in GD.


A total of 36 GD patients (10 males, 26 females; mean age, 45.3 ± 13.8 years) were enrolled for this study, from April 2015 to January 2016. They underwent quantitative thyroid SPECT/CT 20 minutes post-injection of 99mTc-pertechnetate (5 mCi). Association between the time to biochemical euthyroidism after MMI treatment and %uptake, standardized uptake value (SUV), functional thyroid mass (SUVmean × thyroid volume) from the SPECT/CT, and clinical/biochemical variables, were investigated.


GD patients had a significantly greater %uptake (6.9 ± 6.4%) than historical control euthyroid patients (n = 20, 0.8 ± 0.5%, p < 0.001) from the same quantitative SPECT/CT protocol. Euthyroidism was achieved in 14 patients at 156 ± 62 days post-MMI treatment, but 22 patients had still not achieved euthyroidism by the last follow-up time-point (208 ± 80 days). In the univariate Cox regression analysis, the initial MMI dose (p = 0.014), %uptake (p = 0.015), and functional thyroid mass (p = 0.016) were significant predictors of euthyroidism in response to MMI treatment. However, only %uptake remained significant in a multivariate Cox regression analysis (p = 0.034). A %uptake cutoff of 5.0% dichotomized the faster responding versus the slower responding GD patients (p = 0.006).


A novel parameter of thyroid %uptake from quantitative SPECT/CT is a predictive indicator of an early response to MMI in GD patients.


Computed tomography; Euthyroidism; Graves' disease; Methimazole; Single-photon emission computed tomography

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