Evaluation of the diagnostic value of preoperative sentinel lymph node (SLN) imaging in penile carcinoma patients without palpable inguinal lymph nodes via single photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) as compared to planar sci

Sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy represents a well-established diagnostic tool for the assessment of lymphatic metastasis. Correct pre- and intraoperative visualization of SLN is of the utmost importance to ensure the safety and feasibility of the procedure. Aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic value of preoperative SLN imaging via single photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) and planar scintigraphy in patients with penile carcinoma with nonpalpable inguinal lymph nodes.

After peritumoral intradermal tracer injection (150MBq/4.05mCi Tc-99m nanocolloid), we acquired planar scintigraphies including indirect body contouring using a twin head gamma camera. Subsequently we acquired SPECT/CT images of the abdomen via a hybrid system. Prospective evaluation of 52 groins in 26 examined patients was done for all image files obtained with both techniques by 2 trained experts in consensual assessment.

A total of 71 SLNs in 37 groins were identified by means of planar scintigraphy. In these images, no radiolabeled lymph nodes were visualized in 15 out of 52 groins (28.8%). The SPECT/CT images showed a total of 82 SLNs in 42 groins. In 19.2% (10 of the 52 groins), there was no visualization of lymph nodes in SPECT/CT. 8 SLNs in 7 groins that were visualized in the planar technique were found to be false positive by SPECT/CT. In total, 19 SLNs in 16 groins that were overlooked by planar imaging could only be detected by SPECT/CT. In contrast to planar scintigraphy, SPECT/CT imaging enabled clear and precise anatomical localization of SLNs in all 42 groins where radiolabeled SLNs were visible. Even under consideration of all lymphatic drainage regions, statistical evaluation showed a significantly higher number of detected SLNs with SPECT/CT in comparison to the planar technique (P = 0.0022).

In these patients SPECT/CT is capable of visualizing SLNs that cannot be detected with planar imaging. The SPECT/CT technique reduces the number of false positive findings from planar SLN imaging and is able to show anatomic SLN localization more precisely. If possible, preoperative SLN imaging should be performed by means of the SPECT/CT technique in patients with this tumor entity.

Urologic oncology. 2017 Dec 14 [Epub ahead of print]

Carsten Maik Naumann, Christian Colberg, Michael Jüptner, Marlies Marx, Yi Zhao, Ping Jiang, Moritz Franz Hamann, Klaus-Peter Jünemann, Maaz Zuhayra, Ulf Lützen

Department of Urology and Pediatric Urology, University Hospital Schleswig Holstein, Kiel, Germany. Electronic address: ., Department of Urology and Pediatric Urology, University Hospital Schleswig Holstein, Kiel, Germany., Department of Nuclear Medicine, Molecular Imaging Diagnostics and Therapy, University Hospital Schleswig Holstein, Kiel, Germany., University Clinic for Medical Radiation Physics, Medical Campus Pius-Hospital, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Oldenburg, Germany.

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