Frequent visualization of thyroglossal duct remnant on post-ablation 131I-SPECT/CT and its clinical implications

M. Lee, Y. K. Lee, T. J. Jeon, H. S. Chang, B. W. Kim, Y. S. Lee, C. S. Park, Y. H. Ryu

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Aim To evaluate the frequency of thyroglossal duct remnant (TGDR) uptake on post-therapy 131I-scintigraphy in thyroid cancer patients, to analyse the rate of persistent TGDR uptake on follow-up combined 131I-single-photon emission CT/CT (SPECT/CT), and to identify the differential clinical characteristics between patients with positive and negative TGDR uptake on 131I-SPECT/CT. Materials and methods A total of 179 patients treated with total thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer were enrolled in the study. At 131I-whole-body scan (WBS), TGDR uptake was defined as an increase in radioactivity at the midline of the neck versus the thyroid bed. TGDR uptake on 131I- SPECT/CT was defined as the presence of radioactivity at the expected pathway of the thyroglossal duct without evidence of metastatic foci. Persistent TGDR uptake was confirmed when TGDR uptake on follow-up 131I-SPECT/CT corresponded to previous TGDR uptake detected by post-therapy 131I-SPECT/CT. Results At SPECT/CT, TGDR uptake was noted in 86 of 179 patients. Stimulated thyroglobulin (sTg) levels were significantly higher (p = 0.02) in patients with positive TGDR uptake. Persistent TGDR uptake on follow-up 131I-SPECT/CT was noted in 15 of 86 patients; sTg levels were significantly higher (p = 0.03) in the patients with persistent TGDR uptake. Conclusion TGDR uptake is frequently visualized on post-therapy 131I-SPECT/CT images and can be resistant to 131I ablation. TGDR uptake has the potential to result in an elevation of serum thyroglobulin levels. 131I-SPECT/CT clarifies TGDR uptake without additional invasive procedures or imaging studies, eliminating confusion among clinicians for managing differentiated thyroid cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-643
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Radiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by an Inha University research grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Royal College of Radiologists.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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