Objective: The aims of this retrospective study were to evaluate the incidence of residual lymph node (LN) metastases in high-risk papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) patients receiving adjuvant I-131 therapy, especially in those without I-131 accumulation, and to evaluate the clinical usefulness of F-18 FDG PET/CT to detect those lesions. Methods: The 37 PTC patients receiving adjuvant I-131 therapy were retrospectively evaluated. We examined the incidence of residual LN metastasis and compared the accumulation of F-18 FDG and I-131 in those lesions, and compared the serum thyroglobulin (Tg) levels between patients with and without residual LN metastases. Result: A total of 33 lesions were diagnosed as residual LN metastases in 9 patients. FDG accumulated in all of the lesions, but 19 lesions (57.6%) of them had no I-131 accumulation. The SUVmax was significantly higher in lesions without I-131 accumulation than in lesions with I-131 accumulation (6.6 ± 2.8 vs. 4.2 ± 1.8; P = 0.007). The serum Tg levels were significantly higher in patients with residual LN metastases than in patients without it (709.9 ± 1470.8 vs. 25.6 ± 37.1 ng/mL; P = 0.005). The incidence of residual LN metastasis was significantly higher in patients with a detectable serum Tg level than in patients without it (35.0% vs. 0%, P = 0.03). Conclusion: These results indicate that the residual LN metastasis was relatively common in high-risk PTC patients receiving adjuvant I-131 therapy whose serum Tg levels remained detectable, and those lesions often had no I-131 accumulation. FDG-PET/CT would be recommended for PTC patients with detectable serum Tg levels to detect residual LN metastases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging