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AIM OF THE STUDY: To evaluate the role of nuclear medicine techniques in the management of patients with thymoma.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: The Authors performed a review of the literature about the usefulness of traditional nuclear
medicine and positron emission tomography in patients with thymic tumours.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Nuclear medicine imaging can provide additional information in cases of thymoma such as
in differential diagnosis between thymic tumours, staging and restaging. Thallium-201 (201Tl), 99mTc-sestamibi and 99mTctetrofosmin
are useful tumour-imaging agent. Another radiopharmaceutical useful in the management of thymomas is
111In-pentetreotide, a somatostatin analogue, used to define the receptor status and the extent of disease in malignant
thymomas. Positron emission tomography (PET) is a powerful diagnostic tool for diagnosis, staging and restaging of neoplasms
in general. The most used PET radiopharmaceutical is the fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG), a glucose analogue. The
uptake of FDG reflects the metabolic activity of organs and neoplasms and correlates with the tumour growth rate. There
is a paucity of literature on the use of PET scanning in the diagnosis of thymoma. Further perspective studies with a
larger number of cases, considering the development of hybrid imaging PET-CT and new PET radiopharmaceuticals,
may increase the role of nuclear medicine in the diagnostic and therapeutic management of thymic neoplasms.