Kidney SPECT/CT add-on proves precise in ruling out malignancy

Want to save a kidney patient from undergoing cancer surgery he or she doesn’t really need? Add a little sestamibi SPECT/CT imaging, suggest Johns Hopkins researchers.

Added to conventional CT and MRI, 99mTc-sestamibi SPECT/CT provides vital extra information that can noninvasively answer the benign vs. malignant question, according to research published in Clinical Nuclear Medicine and nicely laid out in lay terms by the Hopkins news division.

“Sestamibi SPECT/CT lets radiologists and urologists ‘see’ the most common benign kidney tumor, something CT and MRI have not succeeded in doing alone,” says Hopkins Medicine’s vice chair of urology, Mohamad Allaf, MD. “[U]se of this test has already spared a number of our patients from unnecessary surgery and unnecessary removal of a kidney that would require them to be on dialysis.”

Allaf adds that the results are “hugely encouraging” and calls for more studies.

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